When the Hindenburg made a scheduled flight across the North Atlantic to the USA in 1936, she was the only aircraft on this important intercontinental route. Usually, however, passengers crossed the Atlantic by ship. The shipping companies courted the public with promises of ever larger, more comfortable and faster ships.
This contest found expression in the “Blue Riband”, for the fastest transatlantic crossing. Compared to the Hindenburg the ships were roomier and could take many more passengers in different price categories, but they could not compete with the speed of the airships.
In the second half of the 1930s more and more airplanes crossed the North Atlantic on reconnaissance and mail flights. Long haul seaplanes for passenger transport were developed in the USA, Great Britain, France and Germany, which were intended to undercut the journey times of airships. The first trial flight by a seaplane with passengers across the North Atlantic was made by Pan American World Airways in June 1939.