Universal Air Lines Pilot Wing
St. Louis, MO 1928-1934
Universal Air Lines was a subsidiary of the Universal Aviation Corporation that also owned Robertson Aircraft Corporation and Northern Air Lines. The concept behind Universal was to provide a combination Air-Rail service in competition to rival Transcontinental Air Transport. They expanded in 1929 with the purchase of Braniff Air Lines. They were the first to provide on board dinner with a service called "Sky Dinner" on their Fokker Trimotors, this amounted to an electric stove preparation area and folding tables and a lavatory. On their Cleveland to Kansas City routes they were known to fly three of the Trimotors in formation. In 1929 they purchased five Fokker F.32's but the Great Depression set in and they only took delivery of one aircraft. In 1930 a major fire destroyed many of their aircraft in a hanger in Chicago. By 1934 they creased operations and became part of the new growing America Airways, which became American Airlines. American started out as a conglomeration of 82 small airlines through acquisitions and reorganizations in 1930's. Some of primary airlines that formed the foundation were: Southern Air Transport in Texas, Southern Air Fast Express, Universal Aviation (Universal Air Line), Thompson Aeronautical Services, and Colonial Air Transport.