Transocean Air Lines 1946 - 1960
Flying "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime"
During the late 1940s and early 1950s Transocean's aircraft were
chartered by various groups in the U.S. to fly English, French, and
German war brides back to Europe to show off the grandchildren.
Members of the Britannia Club of Oakland were the first to fly
Transocean's "Diaper Specials" in August 1949 from
Oakland to London and France via Idlewild International Airport in New York. Of the passengers on
board, 17 were British girls married to American soldiers, and 3 were French brides. Also along
were a number of older women who were World War I brides, 27 children, 12 of them infants in
arms, and 3 uncomfortable men.
Newspaper headlines proclaimed: "War Brides, Tots Fly Abroad-Males Find WAH! Is Hell"' One of
the men had accepted a job in England, and one was on his way to propose to his British
girlfriend. The third refused to be identified when he climbed into the passenger cabin with the
babies, and the myriad cartons of canned milk, emulsified menus, and boxes of cloth diapers on
board for the babies' comfort.
Transocean perfected its technique of transporting infants by using DC-4s equipped with "cloud
cradles," special bassinets invented and manufactured by TAL which could be suspended in rows
from overhead baggage racks.
On the return flight, 6 weeks later, the New York Herald Tribune reported Idlewild in chaos during
the nearly 6 hour lay-over as airsick babies screamed, toddlers fell off counters, and older children
clambered through windows when their mothers' attention was diverted to customs and
*From Folded Wings, A History of Transocean Air Lines by Arue Szura
Transocean's "Cloud Cradle" for safety for babies during flights. Testing the cradle is TAL
Captain Andres Madsen's daughter, Lisa, who is with her mother, Marian Madsen. photo: Ralph Lewis
War brides and their children going to see grandma and grandpa in Europe aboard a
Transocean DC-4. photo: Albert "Kayo" Harris
A "Diaper Special" War Bride flight to Europe with plenty of diapers on board. photo: Leo's Photo Studio
* Story from Folded Wings, A History of Transocean Air Lines by Arue Szura