Columbus’ Ships. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Transatlantic travel time has dropped radically in the last 500 years. Time to transit the Atlantic has dropped about 99% and cost has dropped about 95% by my calculations.
Let’s look at several data points for cost and time, then calculate one indicator of improved quality of life.
Human Progress provides fun data points on August 2, 2018 in their post, A Reminder of How Far Transatlantic Travel Has Come.
Update: An earlier post on November 27, 2015 discussed Time to cross the Atlantic – 500 year history.
Update: Added in travel time of Concorde at end of the post.
Columbus’ first trip
The 1492 trip by Christopher Columbus took two years of lobbying before the king and queen of Spain approved 2 million Spanish maravedis to fund the trip. A professor has calculated that would be comparable to about US$1,000,000 today.
The cost seems low to me. I’ll look at that more later.
Crew size was 87 according to this article. The accountant in me is driven to calculate the cost per crewman. That would give an average cost of $11,494. I’ll round that to $11,500 and ignore any adjustment for several crew members who died on the trip.
His trip took two months, nine days, which I calculate at 70 days (30+31+9).
Mayflower. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.