In looking at the 21st century SAS, we can compare yesterday's subject to same airline at the height of its global reach.
One the more regal route maps to ever grace the Timetablist, this magnificent, dynamic cartography exemplifies an earlier era the grandeur of the jet age is reflected in the eloquence of this graphic design. A so-called “spiral-polar projection,” which was “created especially for Scandinavian Airlines System to illustrate its worldwide routes,” are the only notations to the map.
A quad-jet whisks its way into the high atmosphere, the might of its propulsion sweeps up the landmasses themselves, with far Siberia pulled away from the surface of the planet. The very latitudes of the global are twisted into the vortex of the jetliner's contrail.
Upon the surface of these landmasses, thick red lines spread outward from Northern Europe to five continents. At the outer limits of the first generation jetliner's range, an impressive Oslo—Los Angeles was achieved, and lasted for decades, which as mentioned yesterday only came back in March 2016. Montreal and New York (the latter via Glasgow, it seems) were the only other North American destinations.
South America was, somewhat incredibly, more thoroughly covered, with the system's Lisbon—Recife—Rio de Janeiro—Sao Paulo—Montevideo—Buenos Aires—Santiago service. Africa was also served with a classic east African spine, Rome—Athens—Cairo—Khartoum—Nairobi—Johannesburg. None of these South American or African cities are served today.
In addition to a half-dozen Near Eastern cities, SAS operated a trans-Asian trunk route to rival those of other European aviation pioneers, with a scissors-base at Karachi linking to Calcutta—Rangoon—Bangkok, which split to either Jakarta or onward to Manila—Tokyo, which swung northward to Anchorage to return to Copenhagen, here transgressing the print's nautilus-shell projection of the globe.
Image via the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.