Direction of Travel is a series of newspaper devoted to vintage aviation maps. Each Volume includes a different selection of airlines who are either aligned or opposed geographically, graphically or politically.

Airlines as publishers

These maps were published by the airlines and left for passengers to explore. They were often beautifully designed and illustrated providing an overview of the airline’s route network and the destinations it served, occasionally accompanied by detailed information of the cities you were flying over and are a reminder of a past where airlines were publishers. Airline route maps eventually migrated to the back pages of the inflight magazine.

The format

Paper maps are not flat graphics, they have folds and carry the marks of their use. The newspaper format allows us to experience these maps almost as large as they originally were, while retaining a sense of their material. Most of the maps that we have included have held up surprisingly well considering their age and that is a testament to their enduring quality.

The collection

All maps are sourced from my personal collection. Nothing from the internet. Maps have been found on eBay, Abebooks and or directly from personal collections and have been assembled over the last 15 years. Special thanks to the San Francisco Airport Museum who gave me access to their archive in 2018.  

Upcoming Volumes 

  • Volume 1: American and United Airlines 1938-1977 (January 2021)
  • Volume 2: BEA, Sabena and Interflug (June 2021)
  • Volume 3: Alitalia & Swissair (December 2021)
  • Volume 4: March/April 2022
  • Volume 5: November/December 2022
The above is subject to change.

About the author

Direction of Travel is a project by Christian Nolle, a half Danish/half German London based artist and map collector. He has spent decades creating work, often in photographic form, that looks at the interplay between aviation, politics and the cities we live in. Christian is also Founder and Head of Good Caesar, a design and technology studio.