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.
I suppose I should say that directly flyable airships were discontinued after FF9. It's a feature that I really miss, even if it meant the world map wouldn't be perfectly in scale. I'm glad Versus is bringing it back.
and in FFVersusXIII the Overworld is to scale now so Airship travail will look and be awesome.