Until recently, people didn’t often travel very far, and when they did, they traveled slowly, taking days to cross multiple time zones.

The phrase “jet lag” obviously arose from the age of fast air travel becoming popular, but presumably before this others had experienced crossing time zones and being out of sync with local time / the sun, causing the symptoms of jet lag

I’m interested to know when this was first observed.

  • 3
    This relates. Apparently Willy Post wrote about it in 1931. Interestingly, he anticipated it before experiencing it. Nov 6 '20 at 23:31
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    – MCW
    Nov 7 '20 at 3:30
  • 3
    AirSpaceMag, "It's hard to say with certainty who coined the term, but according to a quick newspaper database search, "jet lag" was first used in a Los Angeles Times article on February 13, 1966." (@Gort wins, the FGITW)
    – MCW
    Nov 7 '20 at 3:32
  • You may be assuming a lot in this question. Has a condition known as "jet lag" ever been medically defined? It may be one thing to ask when the term was first used, another to ask when it was first experienced. In my experience people employ the term to describe a pot pourri of symptoms, involving time disorientation, sleep deprivation, stiffness in the joints, dehydration, anxiety, tummy infections etc.
    – WS2
    Nov 9 '20 at 16:19
  • @WS2 I think is has been medically defined, yes: nhs.uk/conditions/jet-lag
    – Tim
    Nov 9 '20 at 16:27

Propeller driven planes flew for decades before the first commercial jets. Jet lag is merely travel fatigue, a common circumstance on long distance travel. a Los Angeles Times article on February 13, 1966. "If you're going to be a member of the Jet Set and fly off to Katmandu for coffee with King Mahendra," wrote Horace Sutton. COined the term jet lag.

  • 8
    There is a big difference between jet lag and travel fatigue.
    – Jos
    Nov 7 '20 at 6:27

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