This brochure was published by the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei to familiarize airship passengers with what they could expect during their voyage on the Hindenburg or Graf Zeppelin.
The modern Zeppelin Airship is awakening in us a new conception of those great trans-ocean distances which we still associate with long sea voyages.
Now, we are realising that, just as the modern aeroplane can bridge the distances between the capitals of States in a few hours, so does the Zeppelin Airship reduce the time in transit over trans-ocean voyages from weeks to days.
The prophetic vision of Jules Verne has been realised. The new experience of a voyage across the ocean above the clouds can be added to others in this age of wonders.
To all our passengers, the safety, comfort, freedom from sickness, and tranquility in motion are a revelation, and these features no doubt are the reason for the increasing popularity of travel by Airship. The one regret expressed by our passengers “” with which we are familiar “” is that the voyage is over so soon. The purpose of this little booklet is to give hints and information which will enable you to obtain the maximum enjoyment from a voyage by Airship.
WHERE AIRSHIP INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED
There need be no difficulty in obtaining information with regard to sailing dates, times of departure and arrival, airports, ports of call en route, together with aeroplane and railway connections, particulars of fares, and all other details. All first-class travel agencies will be pleased to give you this information together with descriptive handbills and booklets issued by the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei. No obstacle need exist in the booking of a passage by airship. All established travel agents can book your passage for you. The important thing is to secure a cabin in advance. The number of your cabin will be allotted to you on the day of departure, and this is of no importance as all cabins are identical. Owing to the great demand for passages, we advise you to book your passage well in advance of the date in which you intend to travel. A berth can be reserved for you by the payment in advance of half the fare. The booking agent will give you a receipt, together with the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei’s Rules and Regulations. It is important to safeguard this receipt, as on completing payment it will be exchanged for the final passage contract. All passengers are required to fill in carefully the official questionnaire handed to them by the travel agent at the time of reserving their berths. We suggest that this is done before the day of departure, as a great deal of time will be saved in embarking. In the case of family parties it is sufficient if all members are included on the one questionnaire.
PREPARATIONS FOR TRAVEL
A passport is indispensable to all subjects of a country traveling to a country foreign to their own. As the preliminaries in obtaining a passport sometimes take several days, we advise our passengers to apply for their passports well in advance of the date of departure of the airship. In those countries where visas are required, these should be obtained from the consular authorities before leaving, as otherwise the passenger may find difficulty in landing. Each State has certain regulations governing the entry of foreigners, and our passengers will be well advised to make themselves familiar with these. If this advice is followed, passengers will have no difficulty in obtaining the necessary authority to travel. Once again we suggest that passengers should make these travel arrangements in plenty of time.
WITH REGARD TO BAGGAGE
Let us think of packing trunks! Of course, we have to distinguish between small baggage, such as suit-cases, handbags, etc., and our heavy baggage, such as trunks. In our hand-baggage we carry certain necessaries and personal belongings, in our heavy baggage we pack away belongings which will not be required until we reach our new destination. Passengers will appreciate that certain restrictions with regard to the volume and weight of all baggage are in force for journeys by airship. The contract fare entitles the passenger to free transport of 286 lba of baggage, of which 66 lbs may be carried in the airship as personal baggage. Care should be taken that all usual articles required by the passenger for his daily use should be included in the personal baggage to be taken on board the airship. Usually, an ordinary light suit-case is found sufficient for this.
Should the passenger wish to take more than 66 lbs of personal baggage, the Company are obliged to charge for the extra weight. Prices will be found in the printed tariff of baggage rates. The other heavy baggage will be collected and forwarded to the passenger’s place of destination by fast mail steamer. This year, 1937, the rates for extra baggage carried on the airship have been reduced to RM 2.”” per lb between Europe and North America, and RM 3.”” per lb between Europe and South America. The booking agent can make all arrangements for the passenger for the collection and forwarding of his baggage through any of the well-known agents.
WHAT IS WANTED ON BOARD?
Naturally, you yourself will decide on the things which you will consider as necessary for your everyday requirements. Nevertheless, perhaps you will allow us to give you some little advice from our past experience. You will find that you do not need any special dress, because life on board an airship is similar to staying in a large hotel or on board a passenger liner. Lady passengers are well aware that a dozen frocks or gowns will weigh scarcely more than one suit of clothes for a man. But the difference in climate at the port of departure and that of the port of arrival should not be forgotten, and, therefore, it is advisable at all times to take with you a light overcoat.
The modern central heating and ventilation system installed on board the airship renders the change of climate almost imperceptible. One hint to the men; a lot of time is spent in looking out of the window at passing ships and other scenes of interest below. Many will find a comfortable cap an advantage. The wearing of a dress-suit or dinner-jacket is, of course, quite optional. Nevertheless, we advise that one dark suit should be carried in the personal baggage for convenient and suitable evening wear. Passengers need not worry about writing materials. In the comfortable writing and reading room they will find a plentiful supply of note-paper, picture post-cards, and attractive souvenirs can be obtained from the saloon stewards.
THE MONEY PROBLEM MADE EASY
How to avoid difficulties with the German foreign currency regulations.
The fare charged for the passage covers ,,full board” and tips. But naturally, passengers will want to purchase little odds and ends, such as souvenirs of the ship, an occasional bottle of wine from the excellent “žcellar” on board, Eau de Cologne, chocolates, cigarettes or even a good Havana cigar.
Sometimes, a party of friends may wish to celebrate some special event with a bottle of champagne from the ship’s expertly chosen wine list. Often, a passenger may wish to send a telegram from mid-air, half-way across the ocean. All these facilities are at the passengers’ disposal. Passengers, of course, have their own individual tastes, and incur their various expenses accordingly. To facilitate the passenger’s convenience and to eliminate minor troubles, the Company have created a ,,Board Credit”, which permits of each passenger opening a personal “žCredit Account” for use on board ship, and in cases where the passenger intends to return by Airship after a short stay, may include a fixed sum in the currency of the country which you are visiting, sufficient to cover their daily expenses during their stay. The German currency regulations permit you to open a “žCredit Account” for any sum of money up to 30 Reich Marks per day, which experience has shown is ample to meet the needs of the average passenger. In fact, you will find when calculating your expenses, that you will need to be really extravagant to exceed this daily expenditure, bearing in mind that your full board and tips, while in the Airship, are already covered by the passage money. Of course, your “žCredit Account” must be estimated and purchased before going on board, preferably, at the time of booking your passage. Your booking agent or banker can do this for you without putting you to any inconvenience, but do not leave it too late.
HOW DOES ONE GET TO THE AIRSHIP?
The Frankfurter Hof Hotel is the Headquarters for Airship passengers arriving at the historic old town on the banks of the Main. A fleet of fast buses connects the Hotel with the Airport. Passengers who make the journey to Frankfurt from England may travel in the Continental Expresses leaving Victoria and Liverpool Street Stations where through connections will bring them to Frankfurt within twenty four hours. Hotel porters in uniform and representatives of the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei meet the principal trains on arrival prior to the Airship’s departure, so that no trouble will be experienced in reaching the Hotel or in the transportation of the Passengers’ luggage. To avoid any possibility of mistake, the passenger may write or wire to the Frankfurter Hof Hotel, advising the time of arrival in Frankfurt, when the train will be met without fail. For motorists, who prefer to make the journey by car, excellent garage accommodation is provided by the Frankfurter Hof Hotel. The quickest means of transit from England, however, is by the fast Cabin planes of the Deutsche Lufthansa Company which, from the month of May, leave Croydon Aerodrome direct for Frankfurt and land at the airport where the Airship will be found waiting to receive them. Likewise, at Rio de Janeiro, a special train conveys passengers to the Airport at Santa Cruz, from which the fast, best and quickest air-service to and from all the capitals of the South American Republics is in operation. In New York, the special planes of the American Air Lines convey passengers to the Lakehurst Airport within the half-hour.
THE VOYAGE BEGINS
Your ticket for the Zeppelin is handed to you, the passport and Customs formalities are quickly over, and from now on you can relax and become completely at your ease, for the staff of the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reedcrei think and act for you. Everything that can be done, is being and will be done, to make your stay on board the Airship as enjoyable as possible. You are conducted inside the hangar, there is the majestic Airship, you are dazzled by its immense size and the beauty of its silver grey form. A steward receives you and you are conducted on board up a comfortable gangway into the ship, completely protected from the weather. There is no discomfort or confusion such as one often meets with in boarding an ocean liner on a wet day. On entering the ship, you are requested to hand over your matches and automatic lighter, as smoking on board is confined to the smoking saloon, where all accessories for the smoker are at hand and where there are no restrictions. Here you will find a well-equipped bar for cocktails and other drinks, and plenty of good companionship. The existing air-navigation laws of most countries compel another request. This is not a very serious one. You arc asked to hand over your camera until the Airship has passed outside the three-mile limit. As soon as this is passed your camera will be returned to you and, of course, you are now free to start your collection of holiday snaps on board the airship, or to take pictures of passing ships and other sights in mid-ocean. Any jewelery and valuables may be handed to the chief steward for safe custody during the trip. At the beginning, it is hard to realise you are on board a Zeppelin; the comfort and protection from the weather, the spaciousness, the elegance and neat equipment, the well-appointed cabins, the courtesy and deference of the ship’s company who arc only too ready to help, awake in you a new conception of pleasurable travel. A new anticipation of excitement mingles with the atmosphere of farewell. You are conscious that in a few days, thousands of miles will be traversed and you will arrive in a new country. Instinctively you approach the large windows and become interested in the preparations for departure. There is no delay, you have felt no shock, no tremble or vibration, and yet you notice the ship is moving. The towering walls of the hangar glide by and at last you are out in the open. Slowly and carefully, the airship swings into the wind, you hear words of command and occasionally a shrill whistle. You notice the groups of men at the tow ropes are moving back and then, while a farewell song is broadcast from the loud speakers, you see the earth getting more distant. It seems to drop quietly from beneath you. The ease and certainty of everything are incredible, for you have felt nothing. While you are still wondering, the earth beneath you commences to slip by and you realise that the voyage has commenced. You turn to a passing steward with an apprehensive enquiry,”Suppoaing one is sick? Is it dangerous to lean?” “Please do not worry” is the reassuring answer. “People are never sick on board an Airship”.
You make your way past your fellow passengers to your cabin. Here the lamps are lit and water is ready in the wash-basin. (In the “žHindenburg” each cabin is equipped with hot and cold water, while in the “žGraf Zeppelin” there are separate toilet rooms for Ladies and Gentlemen.) You open your suit case and arrange your clothes in the wardrobe. At last, your shaving kit, hair brushes and other articles of toilet are displayed upon the toilet stand. At once, your cabin acquires a homely personal atmosphere. You listen for the roar of the engines, or the fierce rush and vibration of the air, but apart from a distant quiet murmur, everything is tranquil and peaceful. You feel that nothing will disturb your sleep. Your steward appears and explains to you the arrangement of the handles and switches for light, heat, and ventilation. You are shown the bell-push in your cabin which will bring him to your side at any time during the day or night. Before he leaves), he reminds you to leave your shoes outside your cabin door for cleaning. You begin to feel that nothing has been overlooked to ensure your comfort.
If you have any particular wish regarding seating arrangement at meals, the First Steward will do his best to accommodate you. Your survey of the Airship commences with a short inspection of the spacious Dining Saloon, Drawing room, and Reading and Writing Room; then down the wide companionway to the comfortably furnished Smoking Saloon. You murmur to yourself, “žHere one has the luxury of an ocean liner and yet within two and a half days we shall arrive in the United States”.
For the last eight years, the famous “žGraf Zeppelin” has carried passengers and has become a favourite ship on the South American route. There are passengers who still prefer the old “žGraf Zeppelin” to the more modern “žHindenburg”, but there is no doubt that passengers soon feel completely at home in both of these Airship, and a trip across the ocean in either of them is an experience the enjoyment of which one will never forget.
A FEW HINTS REGARDING LIFE ON BOARD
Those who are accustomed to steamship travel will soon find themselves at home in an Airship. There is something familiar in the printed passenger-list you receive, the passage contract is similar; and then, the life on board is subject to those rules and regulations such as are usual on a well-run steamship, and which make for order and safety. Everyone finds the ship’s officers ready to explain and to help in every way. The First Steward is always at hand with advice and general information. He knows ‘and understands the passengers’ wishes and difficulties through his long’ experience during years of service aboard ocean steamers and airships. The sounding of a gong is the signal that meals are ready, and that in the Dining Saloon the tastefully laid-out tables are waiting. Breakfast is served from 8 a. m. to 10 a. m., Mid-day dinner at noon; afternoon tea or coffee from 4 p. m. to 5 p. m., and then, as the healthy sea air will be sure to increase your appetite, sandwiches and fruit are served until late in the evening.
The large and varied assortment of foods which form the Menus, the variety of wines and other beverages, as well as the excellent cuisine and attentive service, vie with the best one is accustomed to find in first-class Hotels and Restaurants.
Outward, and homeward bound, passengers should alter their watches to agree with the ship’s clock which is put back or advanced each day in accordance with the time difference between the ship’s position and Greenwich. If this is realised, there will be no misunderstanding with regard to a seeming alteration in the hours of the meals.
Time on board passes quickly. There are many things to hold the passenger’s interest. The news bulletins are displayed on a board in the reading room. Each day, a small newspaper is printed in English and German giving the latest and most important news from all parts of the world. Games, such as cards, chess and draughts can be placed at your disposal by the steward. For those of a quiet or studious disposition, die reading and writing saloon will be popular. Letters can be posted on board the Airship, and at any time you may despatch wireless telegrams to friends or business relations in all parts of the world. Each day there is the excitement of the well-known “žsweepstake” on the ship’s run, and another popular feature is a conducted tour over the whole of the Airship.
All passengers must abide by three important regulations. These are: “”
1. To throw nothing overboard, as by doing so you may cause damage to the Airship’s propellers or hull.
2. Not to carry matches, automatic lighters, or to smoke in any part of the Airship, except the Smoking Saloon.
3. Not to leave the passengers’ quarters except by permission and accompanied by a member of the ship’s company.
Throughout the night and day, the officers and crew of the Airship keep unceasing watch over the safety and welfare of both ship and passengers. The most modern fire extinguishing installations and other safety devices are a guarantee of absolute security. These well-thought out precautions are one of the main reasons why Airship travel has proved most reliable in the last few years, and are a justification of ha increasing popularity.
A DAY ON BOARD
What a wonderful night’s rest you have enjoyed after your first day on board! The soft murmur from the distant engines seems to have lulled you to sleep. Now the sunshine is streaming in through the windows and you take your place in the dining saloon for a breakfast of crisp appetizing rolls and aromatic coffee. Already, die free and easy companionship of ship-board travel is in evidence. The enjoyment of airship travel makes people sociable, friendships are being formed. You finish breakfast and walk to the windows. Down below, you see the long shadow of the airship passing swiftly over the sparkling foam-crested waves of the blue Atlantic, and the joy of experiencing this wonderful achievement in modern travel surges through you. No people are confined to their cabins, for as yet no passenger has ever been sea-sick on board a Zeppelin Airship. Even in storms and squally weather, the ship’s movements are quiet and steady except for die slight shock of the first onslaught. There is no noise beyond die distant murmur of die engines and the sigh of the wind on die outer hull. No dust, no soot to trouble you, the whole atmosphere is one of tranquility and peace. The air is delicious and fresh, in fact you seem to have been transported into another and more beautiful world. For a long time you are content to watch the marvelous cloud formations or the effect of the wind on the sea and waves beneath, and then perhaps you recline in a comfortable chair to read, join a parry in a game of bridge, or chat with some new and interesting friends. Occasionally someone will call from the windows, and you will join your fellow passenger in witnessing the passing of a great liner far beneath, her rails lined with waving passengers, or the inspiring spectacle of a man-of-war or destroyer flotilla.
Mid-day arrives as if by magic, and with it the welcome sound of the dinner gong. After dinner, smokers repair to the smoking saloon. Gradually and amidst many distractions and pleasant activities the evening advances, and the stars appear. If inclined, you take a shower bath before supper, and then a round of cocktails with some friends in the bar, followed by supper, and to end the day, a game of bridge. As you retire to your cabin it seems a miracle that already you are nearer your destination by over 1,000 miles.
A TOUR THROUGH THE AIRSHIP: Some of the secrets disclosed.
Your request to be conducted through the Airship never meets with refusal. A time has been arranged and you meet your guide. Leaving the passengers’ quarters you are conducted along a small gangway which runs throughout the length of the ship. This is the keel gangway. On either Bide are numerous metal tanks and fabric receptacles containing the water, ballast and fuel. In addition, you are permitted to peep into the tent-like quarters of the crew. Above you are the immense gas-bags enclosed in the dainty network of duralumin frames, supports, counter-supports and tension wires forming the skeleton of the Airship. You wonder at the science and ingenuity which have contrived this marvel of lightness and strength.
The cargo is stowed in a network of suspended platforms, and a great variety of cargo is carried.
Lateral gangways lead up to the motor gondolas outside the ship, which are attached to the hull by tension wires and compression arms. You pass the Wireless cabin, where the weather forecasts are received, and from which messages are dispatched to all parts of the world. Now you reach the Control and Navigation car in the front of the ship, which is equivalent to the Captain’s bridge on a steamer. From this car an uninterrupted view can be had on all sides. A mass of gauges, telegraphs and other apparatuses are cleverly grouped and situated so as not to impede the view. You watch the men on duty and foel confident that you are in good hands. You can scarcely hear the noise of the engines which are driving forward this “žFlying Town”. Many of the ship’s company have served under Graf Zeppelin, the creator of the modern airship.
The officers explain the controls which appear very complicated, and also introduce the passengers to some of the secrets of aerial navigation. They learn particulars about the steering of the ship, the different gauges and altimeters, and garner some ideas on the study of meteorology.
Perhaps you will be surprised at the quantities of fuel, water and stores consumed on a voyage across the ocean, but do not forget, the “žHindenburg” is carrying 70 passengers as well as a crew of 52 men.
Your admiration for this masterpiece of German patience, thoroughness and technique, will leave an impression which you will carry through life.
What is more, you will feel proud of having realised yourself the prophecy of Jules Verne, by crossing the ocean by the most modern means of rapid transport.
Thank you for giving us a site like this to pique our interests.
I was doing my research on airships, as I dream to fly/sail a traditional victorian airship across few seas and continents. Thanks a lot for your website and I am very happy that I have stumbled upon this site. I wonder if this would still be possible these days. I… Read more »
If i am not horribly mistaken, it was not so much the hydrogen that contributed to the Hindenburg disaster as the paint on the skin of the airship. That paint formula was meant to be very durable and reflect sunlight off the airship: unfortunately, it turns out to be the… Read more »
Sadly you ARE horribly mistaken; almost everything in your comment is inaccurate.
thank you dan for pointing out wagners horrific errors; like his whole statement!
I have been in love with the idea of airship travel since the late 1940’s when my mother told me about her trip to Germany on board the Hindenburg. No, she was not on board for the explosion … there were 10 round-trips between the U.S. and Germany before the… Read more »
Gene; The dream of large passenger airships carrying revenue-producing patrons to destinations near and far is quite possible. The challenges are reinstating existing aged hangers to build the first prototype and operate it from while it made it’s debut to the world. Once the prototype has proven her capabilities, the… Read more »
I rember when I was a little lad looking up from the garden and seeing a great silver zepelin silently passing over.we were living in south wales u.k.was it a dream?
What a treat to read this travel brochure! And what a great website! I’ve made a study of Zeppelins, which began in the mid-70’s, and I’ve accumulated several books on the subject over the years, and read every article I could lay my hands on. For whatever reasons, these great… Read more »
Hi Ray. The reason why the American naval airships were lost had to do with the technology of the day concerning weather. If Adm. Moffett, Capt. Lansdowne and Comdr. Wiley had a modern I-phone on their person with all the information we can access today, they could see wind sheer,… Read more »
You do realize that zeppelins were very inconvenient in those times and ONLY held 120 or so passengers with almost HALF of them CREW. As it itself says, they consumed an enormous amount of fuel and water and that kind of other stuff. I mean, all of that stuff had… Read more »
it was no crash, as the zeppelin did not bump into anything it was merely an accident.
Huh, well, I do suppose it should be considered a “disaster” but it was practically the same thing. We could go on and on about the morals and yada yada but point of fact, people died in that fire, or were injured.
Zeppelins inconvienient??? At the time Pan Am was still in its infancy, fixed wing aircraft weren’t commercially viable and still couldn’t safely cross the Atlantic, even in favourable weather! Ships were slower and could take a week! Zeppelins (Graf & Hindenburg) made over 1000 commercial flights and regular routes from… Read more »
Zeppelins were amazingly efficient in terms of fuel use. They could remain aloft for very long periods of time and set records for long distance travel. They could only carry the fuel that they could lift, nothing more. Even with that, the Graf crossed the Pacific ocean non-stop from Tokyo… Read more »
This has been an amazing read. It is a tragedy this form of travel was so dangerous. That aside the luxury these ships offered seems to have been second to none.
Only the lifting gas used was dangerous and (at the time) the ship operators felt they could handle it safely. They were wrong.
Yes, who on Earth thought that they could control Hydrogen gas??? I mean, did you see how quickly the Hindenburg went down???
Hydrogen gas is used a lot in industrial applications and is not as dangerous as you think but it does need to be handled safely and with respect! If you speak with any gas manufacturer oxygen is considerably more dangerous. Rockets use oxygen as a fuel source and you dont… Read more »
Hydrogen gas is not flammable when in a pure state. The gas cells in those days were the cutting edge for the Hindenburg and made with a latex-impregnated linen. It still leaked gas and in doing so, let air in at the bottom of the cell. Once mixed with air,… Read more »
T HIS IS A VERY INTERESTING MODE OF TRAVEL, IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL
TO HAVE AIRSHIPS AS A GOOD ALTERNATIVE TO GREEDY AIRLINERS.
I FOR ONE WOULD BE AS HAPPY AS A KID IN A CANDY STORE TO FLY TO THE
CARIBBEAN IN THE DEAD OF WINTER..
I know right? I would love to travel in a Zeppelin although it is quite dangerous.
Zeppelin NT is very safe it uses Helium gas. This is inert, not flammable or explosive!
Flying in a seat perched over wings filled with kerosene at 500 knots in air that’s 40 degrees below zero in a thin skin of aluminum that a pin prick will rupture the pressure integrity any safer? No thanks, I’ll take the slower, lower airship any day. How can you… Read more »
Hey Dan, you have put together a really great and interesting site! Thanks! Question… How much was the cost of a transatlantic passenger on a Zeppelin? (My apologies if you have it on the site already – I haven’t found it.)
One way passage between Europe and America via Hindenburg cost $400 in 1936 and $450 in 1937. (You can find more information about transatlantic fares at https://www.airships.net/hindenburg .)
Thanks for the kind comments!
That means now (from Dan’s comment) that the one way would now be about $8000 one way! Or maybe $15000 round trip, when the aircraft flights to Germany are between $1000-1400 depending one the season. So it’s an order of magnitude more expensive. Would you pay $15000 to fly by… Read more »
It’s hard to convert past amounts to present value (it’s a much more complicated calculation than people often imagine) but the figures you quote are generally in line with first class airfares today.