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1919: Food and Drink Service

Sandwiches, fruit and chocolate were offered on London-to-Paris flights as early as 1919. But in 1928, Lufthansa became the first airline to serve food and drinks to its passengers. It was an especially grand experience on Lufthansa's Junkers G38 plane, where passengers sat inside a dining room found within the plane's thick wings.

At left, passengers on board the Lufthansa Berlin-Vienna Air Express service enjoy a meal.

Patricia Friend, president of the flight attendants' union AFA-CWA, said in a 2010 interview with NPR that strict government regulations of air fares resulted in better service over the years, including better food, because it was the only way airlines could compete. But a series of events, including deregulation in 1978, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and rising fuel costs, completely changed that.

Photo: General Photographic Agency | Hulton Archive | Getty Images