Source: Based on historic American Airlines and TWA timetables available at
Detailed PDF Map
Selected Transcontinental DC-3 Routes, Late 1930s
The Douglas DC-3 was the outcome of specifications laid down by American Airlines for an airliner that could offer coast-to-coast "sleeper" overnight services. When configured for such operations the aircraft had a capacity of 14 passengers; but in a normal seating configuration, it held 21. As the map above indicates, the DC-3 with an operating speed of 350 km/hr could cross the continent in about 15 hours, with three refueling stops along the way. TWA was also competing with the AA "Mercury" services with its own "Sky Chef" route, which was slightly shorter. The eastbound service was organized as an overnight transcontinental crossing so that passengers could arrive in the morning of the next day. The westbound Mercury flight would leave New York at 5:10PM and arrive in Los Angeles at 7:51AM.