FinalEvangelion said:

It all started with the removal of the flyable airship after FF9.  It seems better graphics made FF games more limiting rather than opening up new possibilities.

But FFX and FFX-2 had An Airship that you could fly anywhere you wonted to go the world map.

I believe FFXII and FFXIII were the first without Player controlled Airships in an FF Game.  

Japanese Pop Culture Otaku