Airmail poster advertising the ten-cent rate
This airmail poster promotes the airmail connection between Chicago, Illinois, and New York City, the nation’s largest business centers in 1927. The poster shows a biplane at the top, with the text “Overnight Chicago to New York, Air Mail, New York to Chicago.” Text at the bottom of the poster reminds readers of the new ten cents per half-ounce airmail rate.
The Post Office Department had a difficult time persuading average Americans to use airmail service at first. Banks were the most enthusiastic of the early commercial users of airmail service. They were able to reduce the float time of checks by using airmail to send them more quickly. For most Americans, however, the speedy service did not compensate for the significantly higher cost. The cost per ounce for airmail service began at twenty-four cents per ounce at a time when regular mail service cost only three cents. The Department began a series of rate cuts as incentives to use the mail. At one point at the end of 1918, the Department offered airmail service between selected cities at a mere six cents per ounce.
The price for airmail bounced up and down over the next few years, with rates tied to different levels of service, including distance. On February 1, 1927, when this poster was published, airmail rates were set at ten cents per half-ounce.