Chicago & Southern Air Lines

Founded as Pacific Seaboard Air Lines, the carrier made its first flight on 25 June 1933 without an airmail contract. The airline flew from Los Angeles to San Francisco, stopping at Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Paso Robles, Salinas, and Monterey in California, charging "3½ cents per mile -cheaper than driving your car." Pacific Seaboard operated for about a year in California, completing almost 250,000 miles of day and night flying along the mountainous west coast. However, the airline struggled to meet expenses and was losing money.

In 1934, the U.S. Post Office called for new bids on all airmail routes, giving Pacific Seaboard hope for financial stability. With a bid of 17 1/2 cents a mile, the lowest ever received by the Post Office, Pacific Seaboard won a route from Chicago to New Orleans. The airline moved its headquarters to Memphis, Tennessee, to shift operations to the Mississippi River Valley.

Pacific Seaboard Air Lines Label

Pacific Seaboard Air Lines began a mail service between Chicago and New Orleans on 3 June 1934 and started flying passengers over the route on 13 July 1934. The route served the following cities: Chicago and Peoria, Illinois; Springfield and St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; Greenwood and Jackson, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana. 1935, the airline changed its name to Chicago and Southern Air Lines.

2660 N86524 L749 N25627 DC3 CHICAGO AND SOUTHERN 1953 46779 large

N86524 L649 Constellation and N25627 DC-3 of Chicago and Southern Airlines in 1953, Zoggavia Collection

C&S continued to expand service during the 1940s, which was interrupted by World War II activities. In 1941, flights started between Memphis and Houston, Texas, via Shreveport, Louisiana. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, C&S quickly opened a modification center to prepare U.S. Army combat aircraft for immediate use in war zones. The airline experienced rapid route expansion in the post-war period. C&S reached the most northern city on its route when it started service to Detroit on 1 June 1945. New domestic destinations were added to Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, and Texas in the Midwest and South till the end of the decade.

C&S was awarded its first international route to the Caribbean on 24 May 1946. Operating from its gateway city of New Orleans, C&S ultimately flew to Havana, Cuba; Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Aruba and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles; Cuidad Trujillo (today's Santo Domingo), Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Caracas, Venezuela. C&S was "linking the Americans through the Treasure Islands of the Caribbean."

Cs Ad International Service 1952

Chicago And Southern Label

C&S received its first 649 Constellation in August 1950 and put it in service in October of the same year. By mid-1951, C&S had six 649s in service, linking the principal cities of its domestic network with Cuba, Venezuela, and Jamaica. C&S was one of the airlines that used "Speedpaks" regularly for its services. On 10 January 1953, a 649 inaugurated the new service from New Orleans to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

C S Ticket

In the early 1950s, Delta began considering the prospect of a merger to expand its route system. Given the complementary character of the Delta and C&S route systems and that both companies shared a common business philosophy, a merger appeared natural. Its routes brought Delta's first international service - from gateway city New Orleans to the Caribbean and Caracas, Venezuela.


Delta C&S Billboard advertizing by General Outdoor Adv Co., marketing Houston New Orleans service in 1954. Zoggavia Collection

On 1 May 1953, the Civil Aeronautics Board formally transferred the routes of Chicago and Southern to Delta. After the merger, the airline operated as Delta-C&S for a couple of years before continuing as "Delta" in the summer of 1955. The Connies were disposed of in the reorganization scheme in 1954, but later, in 1956, Delta acquired four 049s and used them as 72-seaters on its domestic coach-class schedules until 1958. American Flyers Airline took over the Connies in April 1960.




1950 - 1953
1950 - 1953
1950 - 1953
1950 - 1953
1950 - 1953
1950 - 1953


Chicago and Southern Constellation Gallery