I was surprised to find that this particular question is difficult to Google. Everyone is familiar with Tinker Bell and Disney's interpretation of her, but was she the first to have these characteristics? The related question on this site, Who and what are the winged “faries” that feature in fairytale?, has an answer which gives the following quote from Etymonline:
As a name for the diminutive winged beings in children's stories from early 17c.
This claim itself is not cited (it is not even couched as a claim), but context leads to an essay by Tolkien: On Fairy Stories. There, Tolkien mentions Michael Drayton's Nymphidia (1627) and through the use of "fluttering" implies the existence of the archetype:
Drayton's Nymphidia is one ancestor of that long line of flower-fairies and fluttering sprites with antennae that I so disliked as a child
Having skim-read through it, it appears that for the most part that all the fairies were indeed diminutive but ground-bound - save for the eponymous Nymphidia who appears to fly between lines 313 and 320.
This thing Nymphidia overheard,
That on this mad king had a guard,
Not doubting of a great reward
For first this business broaching ;
And through the air away doth go,
Swift as an arrow from the bow,
To let her sovereign Mab to know,
What peril was approaching.
Whether this is an accident of translation or not is up to people more knowledgeable than I. The question now becomes: is this the earliest example of the archetype, or was Drayton inspired by another?
Also, researching this question has given me a new appreciation for Tolkien as an essayist. Thanks Rubellite Fae!