Modern planes can do a lot, from breaking the sound barrier to providing the setting for the best Nic Cage movie of all time, but for all their modern innovation, only 1 airborne vehicle has ever had the balls to earn the title of "Airship."
Lets address the elephant in the room: wherever you're going, you're getting there slowly. Even top of the line airships had a top speed of less than 100mph, meaning that New York to L.A. trip is going to take the better part of a day. Why is that OK? Here's your seat:
Admittedly, that's not much legroom compared to a standard hotel room.
...and your dining tray...
...and your window seat.
Open windows a mile up? No problems here...
The reason that it looks more like a cruise liner than a passenger jet is that it was. Even enormous Zeppelins like the Hindenberg carried less than 100 passengers, but made space for cabins, a dining room, a lounge, a bar, and even a smoking lounge. Yes, as an ultimate middle-finger to flight safety, there was a smoking lounge on a ship made famous by catching fire.
You'd think that the Truth.com people would've jumped on this one by now.
Odds are good that when you first saw the word 'Zeppelin' in this article that image above was the first place your mind went. If your knowledge of history extends no farther than back issues of 'Spider Man', here's the whole crash, including the now legendary yell of 'Oh, the humanity!'
...and that was all it took. Despite a 33 year record of passenger travel without a single injury or fatality, the passengers stopped buying tickets the nanosecond airships became synonymous with 'flying explosion-mobile.'
Now, plenty of people have put forth theories as to why The Hindenburg caught fire, but they all basically boil down to the same thing: they filled it with explosive-ass hydrogen instead inert, hilarious-voice inducing helium. What possible reasoning could there have been for that.
Well first it's kind of important to know that before planes became commonplace airships pretty much ruled the skies. Or, to be more specific, they ruled the skies over Western Europe circa 1913-1919. Ruled and bombed.
Take that, London.
After duking it out with the Germans once during the first world war, the worlds sole helium stockplie owner (hint: us) declared the lighthearted gas a war resource and instated an embargo in 1930s thanks to some questionable behavior by the Germans and their *ahem* charismatic new leader.
Yup, this asshole again.
Ol' Fasci-stach up there got behind the idea of Zeppelins as a propaganda tool (better planes made them useless as bombers by World War II) and without the much saner option of helium available, Zeppelins in the 30's were all hydrogen filled. Honestly, its amazing crashes on par with the Hindenburg weren't the rule, and not the exception.
...heres some pictures of Zeppelins looking like dongs.
Don't worry baby; it'll only hurt for a second.