The Name Game

The Mangling of Airline Names is Nothing New. But What’s This, an Error in The New Yorker!

Warning: the post below, much like its author, is pedantic, petulant, overbearing and annoying. Reader discretion is advised.

 

August 20, 2014

EVERYBODY messes up airline names. They spell them wrong, say them wrong, add letters and breaks and apostrophes where none belong, and so on. In the aftermath of the MH370 and MH17 incidents, for instance, we’ve had one mangling after another of the Malaysia Airlines name. No, it’s not that important, and I’ve eased up on correcting people, but there are times when you just can’t let it go. I was startled the other day to come across a slip up in, of all places, The New Yorker. There are fewer if any more impeccably edited and fact-checked periodicals, but there it is, in an essay by George Packer on page 85 of the August 11th issue. Packer makes a reference to “Malaysian Air” flight 17.

George! Of all people!

The name of the company is Malaysia Airlines. It’s not “Malaysian Airlines,” “Malaysia Air,” or “Air Malaysia.” And it’s certainly not the doubly wrong “Malaysian Air.”

What is it, anyway, with the shortening of the words “Airlines” or “Airways” into “Air”? “British Air,” “Singapore Air,” “Virgin Air,” “Malaysia(n) Air.” Is it unfamiliarity with certain airlines from overseas? We don’t say “American Air” or “United Air.” I realize that it’s fewer syllables, but it’s ugly-sounding and wrong.

As maybe you’ve heard, Malaysia Airlines is considering a name change — not terribly surprising after two notorious tragedies in less than a year. This doesn’t shock me, but it does concern me for a couple of reasons. First, is it really necessary? People are squeamish, but the bulk of travelers aren’t irrational enough to avoid a particular airline because it happened to be tragically unlucky. If the carrier wants to prove itself proud and resilient, it needs to think long term and should keep its identity intact. Second, Malaysia Airlines is such a classy and dignified name. It should stay that way. If not, and if the current trend in airline branding is any indication, we’re liable to end up with something truly awful, like “Jet Fun Asia” or “Malay Sunshine Fly.”

Airline malapropisms aren’t limited to the media or to industry outsiders. People I work with, many of them long-time veterans of the airline business, will sometimes speak of “Air Italia,” and I’ve encountered just about every possible variant of the pronunciation and spelling of the name Lufthansa, from the crudely phonetic (“Liftunza”) to the inexplicable (“Lefthoonza.”)

I think we’re good on Malaysia Airlines, but they’re just one of many common victims. If you’re an editor or reporter, here are some simple guidelines that will keep you from receiving a letter of correction from yours truly:

• Let’s be clear on this “Air” thing. There are no such things as “British Air,” “Virgin Air,” “Alaska Air,” or “Singapore Air,” just to pick four. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic (or Virgin America), Alaska Airlines and Singapore Airlines are what you mean. As to that first one, you can earn extra credit by calling it “BA,” as savvy fliers like to say.

• There’s no “Malaysian Airlines,” and there’s no “Iberian Airlines” either. It’s Iberia.

• You cannot fly to Rome on “Air Italia” or “Alitalian.” It’s Alitalia.

• To camel cap or not to camel cap? The Egyptian national carrier is EgyptAir, not “Egyptair” or “Egypt Air.” On the other hand, it’s Icelandair and Finnair, not “IcelandAir” or “FinnAir.” (Alas now defunct, though still fondly remembered, it was neither “SwissAir” nor “Swiss Air.” It was Swissair.)

• Pardon my nitpicking, but there is no “Delta Airlines” based in Atlanta, Georgia. There is only Delta Air Lines. I wish more carriers used this old-timey three-word style.

• In the old days one flew to Seoul on KAL, as everyone called it. But did that stand for Korean Air Lines, or was it Korean Airlines? I’ve got photos of aircraft on which both are painted. No matter, in 2014 it’s a short and simple Korean Air.

• There is no such thing as “China Air.” There is, however, China Airlines, the national carrier of Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC). There also is Air China, based in Beijing, in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Don’t mix them up: the PRC is the sworn enemy and claimant of Taiwanese sovereignty, and China Airlines and Air China crews are known to engage in airport brawls and run one another off taxiways.

• Beware of redundancies when tempted to tack on any kind of “Air,” or “Airways” suffix, as it might already be there. SAS, for example, needs nothing of the sort, lest it become “Scandinavian Airlines System Airlines.”

• I know of at least two carriers that rely on the singular “Airline.” Emirates Airline, and the lesser-known Sky Airline of Chile. Frankly they’d be better off with the “s.” (Why does there have to be an “air” suffix at all? “Emirates,” alone and unadorned, is such a great-sounding name. Similarly, the full and annoying name of JetBlue is JetBlue Airways. What’s wrong with just “JetBlue”?)

• Lufthansa is Lufthansa. Sort of. Officially it’s Deutsche Lufthansa, which means, basically, “German Airlines.” On the emblem of a Lufthansa captain’s hat it says “DLH” which is taken from the full German name.

• KLM? Why that’s Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, or “Royal Airline Company.” But you knew that.

• There is no “u” in Qantas. It’s taken care of by the Queensland part of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, as it was named more than 90 years ago.

• Everybody remembers the Concorde. More properly, everybody remembers Concorde. The plane’s makers always insisted the article extraneous. In a haughty Oxford accent you might have heard, “We’ll be arriving on Concorde at noon.” This is possibly the most pretentious bit of nonsense in the history of aviation; most of the time I go ahead and use the the.

• The The? Does anyone remember that song “Uncertain Smile” from c. 1983? I once had the extended version on a 12-inch 45.

Let’s go back to Lufthansa for a minute. Of all the endless manglings of this fine and handsome word, perhaps the most atrocious version is one heard dozens of times daily at Boston’s Logan International Airport. The offense takes place on Massport’s inter-terminal shuttle bus and aboard the MBTA’s Silver Line connection from downtown, both of which share a common audio loop that announces the occupants of each terminal. As the only airline pilot alive who doesn’t own an automobile, I take public transportation to and from the airport. And every time the bus nears terminal E, I clench my teeth and close my eyes as the tape goes through its alphabetical listing. It starts out fine. “This stop serves Air, France, Aer Lingus, Alitalia, British Airways” Then then, here it comes… “Loof-THUND-za.”

Say what?

“Loof-THUND-za,” the woman’s voice repeats. Not only does she screw it up, she makes a presentation out of it. Her voice drops an octave and appropriates the accent of a Teutonic demon.

Being touchy about these things, I’ve thought about protesting to Massport. But imagine how that might go:

PS: Yes, hello, I’m calling to complain.

MP: Oh, is this about the toilets in Terminal C? Sorry, we’re trying to…

PS: No, it’s about the bus. The shuttle bus.

MP: The bus? Did the driver swear at you? We have a special number for that, let me…

PS: No, it’s the recording, the tape recording that calls out the airlines at each terminal.

MP: I see. No problem. Is the volume too loud? Is there an airline missing?

PS: No, it’s not missing. It’s just all messed up.

MP: Oh. Which one?

PS: Lufthansa.

MP: “Lefthinza?”

PS: Yes. Or, well, no. Lufthansa.

MP: That’s what I said, Lifthoonsa.

PS: See, this is what I’m talking about. You’re not pronouncing it right, and neither is the tape. It’s very confusing. [Actually, it isn’t confusing at all, it’s just irritating.]

MP: All right, I will have our audio tape team look into this and call you back.

PS: Great, thank-you.

[Four days later Massport returns the call.]

MP: Yes, Patrick, our engineers have reviewed the recording. They could not find any problem. The voice clearly says “Lifthonser.”

PS: [exasperated] In fact that’s not what it says. It says “Loof-THUND-za.”

MP: [sternly] That’s what I just said, “Luftownza.”

PS: That isn’t what you said. And either way it’s wrong. Can’t you keep your diphthongs straight? Geez. What the hell is wrong with you people?

And so on.

That conversation never really happened, though I suppose it could have. And those of you who long ago decided that I’m a petulant crank are, once again, amply rewarded. But I am of the belief that every field, every specialty and sub-specialty, no matter how esoteric, needs its obsessives, and is richer for their efforts. To the layperson, such intense adherence to detail might seem undue, or comical. But without it, standards fall, and the transfer of information becomes corrupt.

From there it’s a slippery slope: the very building blocks of society begin to fissure and crumble. The terrorists have won!

In any event, we shouldn’t push it, lest Lufthansa be tempted to change its name. The only thing worse than a recorded voice announcing “Loof-THUND-za” would be one announcing “Air Germany.”

If you haven’t noticed, the global expansion of commercial aviation has brought with it some truly awful carrier names. In the past few years, more than 250 commercial operators have entered the market, the bulk of them with identities ranging from inexplicable to embarrassing. Many, apparently, were thought up by twelve year-old girls (Golden International Airlines, Butterfly Helicopters), or junior high kids strung out on energy drinks (Maximus Air Cargo, Mega Aircompany).

Of course, nobody will ever outdo the accidental hilarity of Taiwan’s now-defunct U-Land Airlines, but particularly noxious has been the fondness for ultra-quirky, dare I say “fun” monikers. Zoom, Jazz, Clickair, Go Fly, Wizz Air. Enough already. Sure, it freshens things up, but can you really buy a ticket on something called “BMIbaby” and still feel good about yourself in the morning?

The idea, I think, is to personify the ease and affordability of modern air travel. One result, however, has been to undercut whatever shred of dignity the experience retains. In fairness, this trend is emblematic of the way too many products, not just airline tickets, are pitched these days, with everything presented as quick, quirky, snappy and hip. But as a pilot, if not as a traveler, I’m troubled by the incongruity of a $50 million jetliner that says “Zoom” on the side in cartoon letters the size of a house.

Here are some suggestions: Zip-Air, Neato Plane, CrazyJet. Shoot, I was going to type “Superjet,” but guess what? Superjet International — you can’t make this up — a joint venture between planemakers Alenia Aereonautica of Italy and Russia’s Sukhoi, is developing a new family of regional jets. And you thought “Airbus” was bad.

If it’s any consolation, there are, for now, some beauties still out there. Avianca, the flag carrier of Colombia, is one of the oldest airlines in the world, and maybe the prettiest-named. What a sweet word that is, both the way it looks and sounds: Avianca. You could almost name your daughter that.

 

See chapter seven of Cockpit Confidential for an in-depth and funny essay on airline branding and identity.

Now a New York Times bestseller!

Book Cover With Bestseller Credit

 

Note: Portions of this post originally ran in the magazine Salon.
Salon.com logo

Back to the Ask the Pilot Home Page Visit the Blog Archive Back to Top!
Leave a Comment


9 − 1 =

56 Responses to “The Name Game”
  1. Matthew Carrick says:

    Yes, not only do I remember “Uncertain Smile” by The The but it is played with some frequency on my various devices. Pretentious. Ha!

    • Andy S. says:

      Thanks for calling out Patrick on THe The. Does he think just because I am in my late 40’s, I can’t remmeber music I listened to in high school?

  2. SSpiffy says:

    Back in the 70s, I used to hitch rides OAK-PHX via LAX on an overnight freight outfit called Zoom Zoom Airways. They served those three cities and SLC with a fleet of 4 DC-3s with LAX as the hub.

    Good times, good times. Got my first multi hours, first high performance hours and first taildragger hours in those old crates. All in cruise, for some reason they wouldn’t let me do take offs or landings. Did you know it’s possible to hand prop (OK, whole arm and run prop) those old radials?

  3. Simon says:

    The proper pronunciation of Lufthansa is really not that hard for any English speaker.

    Luft sounds like looft, (the oo pronounced short as in hoof, not long as in loot). And hansa, well, is just hansa as in Hanseatic League. You may make the a long ‘aa’ if you want to sound especially German.

    Simple as that. ;)

    • Rod says:

      Except that I pronounce the “hoof” and “loot” vowels alike.

      But you’ve given a good explanation. “Luft” is just the German word for “air”, as in Luftwaffe. And if you can start the “u” as a pure OH and glide quickly and smoothly it into a pure OO to end it, then you’ve just about nailed it.

      How’s that for pedantry?

    • Andreas says:

      Mmmm, not really, the h in Luthansa is silent, while the h in Hanseatic is a hard h.

  4. mictter says:

    Two days ago, while I was browsing the “black list” of airlines forbidden to operate in EU airports, I came across the funniest name of all: “AIR CASTILLA”, based on the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    As a proud born-and-raised Castilian, I was happy to find that. The only problem was that I couldn’t find any photo of an actual plane belonging to that airline, sigh.

  5. F says:

    Patrick, how do you pronounce Lufthansa then? I was waiting for you to teach us at the end of your article!! I’m not a native English speaker so I’m very much interested in the correct pronounciation!

  6. hatcat says:

    As someone working for America West “back in the day”, it was annoying to hear people refer to us as “American West”. Then explaining to them that we had no relationship to AA, which many of them assumed. Now, all these years later, HP merges with US and while being the surviving management team, retains the US Airways name. Then US absorbs AA, but keeps the American name. So, HP now runs AA (if you want to look at it that way). I guess it all worked out in the end.

  7. Leoguy says:

    I never knew that Qantas is an acronym. Thanks for educating me.

  8. Don Murray says:

    I totally agree with that if you can’t get the name of the airline (or air line) correct, why should we believe anything else written in the article? It is not a big deal to find out what the correct name is. There are lists of the correct names (on many of the airline comparison sites) so you can enter the correct name.

  9. Mark Maslowski says:

    “On Concorde” is really more appropriate if you’re Dennis Moore and looking for lupins! (Is that the first Monty Python reference on Ask the Pilot?)

  10. Alex says:

    As for newish airline names we have the full gamut in Mexico:
    – The plain boring: Click (now gone as it was a Mexicana subsidiary)
    – The WTF: Aerobus, both a reminder of the cheapness – in the bad sense – of air travel and a lawsuit magnet.
    – The classy: Volaris

  11. Steven Marzuola says:

    One of my favorite names and airlines was Viasa, or “Venezolana Internacional de Aviación Sociedad Anónima”. The livery had a bright orange tail that I didn’t understand but which was distinctive.

  12. Martin says:

    We fly Wizz Air pretty regularly, a budget carrier with thrice-weekly non-stops to my mother-in-law’s. My four-year-old and I crack up every time they robotically make the pre-landing announcement to “return your seat to its full upright position”, because their seats do not, in fact, recline.

    Actually, Patrick, I think I might be raising your daughter. Sometimes, instead of a bedtime story, she asks me to tell her the name of “every airline that exists and also those that don’t exist anymore”. Thank goodness she’s not in a position to correct me if I misremember the CamelCaps!

  13. Charles Kuester says:

    I remember reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about 30 years ago. Allegheny Airlines had commissioned a survey asking people to rank a list of domestic airlines from best to worse. Now this kind of survey probably depends as much on name recognition as on performance and customer satisfaction since the respondents in a random sample of the population had probably not flown on all the named carriers and maybe not any of them. So it was not surprising that a regional airline like Allegheny ranked below names like Delta, United, Pan Am, and other larger and better known names. What was surprising, especially to Allegheny’s management, was that it ranked below a totally fictional carrier named US Airways.

    In 1979 Allegheny changed their name to, yep, US Airways.

    On another note, my favorite name for a fictional airline comes from a model airplane circa 1960: Pandemonium Airlines.

  14. Dan Ullman says:

    As a member of the general public I would like to apologise for not getting these airline names correct. We are sinners but on the other hand we are likely to be forgiven at the gate (pearly, not departure).

  15. Alex says:

    Great post! I’d love to see the transcript of an actual call to Massport. Patrick, are you up for trying it?

    “China Airlines and Air China crews are known to engage in airport brawls and run one another off taxiways.” At first I cracked up imagining that, but I still have a nagging doubt: Has that actually happened?

  16. Harvey says:

    You said that you were afraid that Lufthansa might change its name to “Air Germany.” I assume that you are aware that most domestic service in Germany (other than flights operating from cities other than Frankfurt and Munich)is now provided by a Lufthansa subsidiary called “Germanwings”?

    • Siegfried says:

      Yes, that is quite funny, when you think about it: International flights are service by “Lufthansa” which obviously is not easy to say for some English speaking airport personnel and flights within Germany are serviced by “Germanwings”, a name that gets butchered by German airport personnel.

      On the other hand: the first German airline was called “Deutsche Luftschifffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft”. Try that one.

  17. Tod Davis says:

    Isn’t there a carrier in China named ‘okay airways’?

  18. Guy Hamilton says:

    ‘“We’ll be arriving on Concorde at noon.” This is possibly the most pretentious bit of nonsense in the history of aviation’.
    Absolutely right. Pompous twaddle! An embarrasment to the English. And I speak as an English person.
    Even saying “the Concorde” is ridiculous. A Concorde was a type of aircraft of which there were several examples. One travelled on “a Concorde”, not “Concorde” or “the Concorde”.
    I usually used to reply to this nonsense by pointing out that I usually went to work “on Torota”, although I liked to travel “on bicycle” in good weather, and I had come to the airport “on train” rather than “on taxi”.
    Got right up my nose, it did.

  19. Martin says:

    Then there was the now-defunct South African carrier 1Time Airline.

    I flew it one time, Cape Town to Joburg. The plane clearly had some stories to tell – lavatory signs in Spanish (basically not spoken anywhere in Africa), and other tell-tale indications that the aircraft had been through a few owners.

    1Time, no more.

    Another time, saw a planeload of people at a gate in Madrid waiting to be told what was going to happen re their cancelled flight on Air Comet, also now out of business. I’m guessing the airline got its name because it managed to get a plane in the air once every 70 years.

  20. great post. I love pedantic and overbearing:)

  21. John Graham says:

    Hope, as you they don’t rename Malaysia Airlines. There is also the practice of renumbering a route on which an accident has occurred e.g. AF 447 became AF 443. Although IranAir still call Flight 655 Teheran to Dubai IR 655. Malaysia should continue with MH17 as it forms a memorial of sorts to a tragic accident.

  22. Jeff Latten says:

    There was an airline servicing many cities throughout Central America call SAHSA. I think it stood for “Stay At Home Stay Alive”

  23. Don B says:

    “On the other hand, it’s Icelandair…”. Actually, no, it has been Loftleidir or Icelandic for years. The Icelandair name seems to be their corporate name under which their air operator certificate is issued. The planes are still shown with Loftleidir Icelandic painted on the sides and their website clearly indicates Loftleidir Icelandic as their name. And you expect the average passenger to keep this all straight?

    • Patrick says:

      Many years ago Icelandair’s planes had the “Loftleidir” titles on them, but this no longer true. It says Icelandair and only Icelandair. And show me where on this website it “clearly indicates” Loftleidir Icelandic as the carrier’s name?

      http://www.icelandair.us/

      I tried the Icelandic language portion of the site and couldn’t find it there either. Am I missing something?

      P

  24. Kozmo says:

    This reminds me of my favorite Beatles airline travel anecdote. John Lennon (of course) is recorded as once saying, on a tour flight from Germany to England, that he liked flying on Lufthansa, felt secure on German planes, because he was sure “all the pilots know the way to London.”

    (But apart from that, he never ever mentioned The War.)

  25. Jim says:

    I just people I’m on UA, LH, SQ or EK. Keep it simple.

  26. Msconduct says:

    Pedantry? Awesome, bring it! Emirates is always advertised as just that, no “Airline” (let alone “Airlines”!) here in NZ. Is that not the case everywhere else? And I have to say Alaska Airlines are asking for it given that their URL is alaskaair.com. I’ve been confused by that more than once.

    As a natural-born pedant, I’m disappointed I can’t offer any further nitpicky airline gems. In lieu, let me offer an obscure factoid: before 1965, Air New Zealand’s name was the rather splendid TEAL (Tasman Empire Airlines Limited). In quiet recognition of this, cabin crew uniforms to this day on Air NZ are always teal.

  27. Randall says:

    Nah, it was called Air Comet ’cause it came and went, never to be seen again… LOL

  28. Randall says:

    But you did not explore the wealth of unfortunate airline acronyms:

    TIA (Trans International Airlines) was a charter of poor repute, AKA Travel in Agony or Take it in the A…

    PIA (Pakistan International Airlines), back in its less punctual heyday, was referred to as Perhaps I’ll Arrive, or Please Inform Allah.

    Nothing against PIA – I have no idea how they are today – could be completely different.

    • Guy Hamilton says:

      Bahamas Airways – Banana Scareways
      Phillippine Airlines – PAL – Plane Always Late
      British West Indian Airways – BWIA – But Will It Arrive?
      I’m sure that there are many more.

    • Fra says:

      ALITALIA: Always Late In Takeoff, Always Late In Arrival
      TAP: Take Another Plane

  29. Robert Zeigler says:

    Or Trans Texas Airways aka :

    Tinker toy Airways
    Tree Top Airways

    Theye were around in the 60’s, flying DC-3’s with sweaty FA’s.

  30. Brooke says:

    I too take the silver line to my office in terminal e, and Loofthundsa is my highlight of the day. Also the way she pronounces Hainan Airlines, which I reckon she pronounces in much the same way as Peggy Hill pronounces Spanish words.

  31. Don Beyer says:

    Too often Lufthansa many say Luf thansa. It’s Luft Hansa. Luft is air in German. Hansa refers to the Hanseatic Leauge of Cities

  32. Marty D. says:

    How could we forget TED? What is the difference between airline, airlines and airways”

  33. The guy that ran Ozark Air Lines in the 70’s was quite a character. Some magazine once commented on the hick aura of the name and the guy said he was going to put in for a route to Canada and rename it Ozark International.

    Fond memories of the MSP-STL breakfast flight, Honeywell Aerospace calling on MacAir. Cabin crew would be on their feet as soon as the wheels were up, running down the aisle of the DC9 throwing plastic containers of ham “omelets” on everybody’s tray table. One more pass for coffee, 15 minutes or so to inhale the food, then they’d run back down the aisle with garbage bags, snatching the containers and cups, sometimes right out of the passenger’s hands. They’d thrown the garbage bags in the john, grab their seats and be buckled up, oh, at least three to five seconds before touchdown :-)

  34. Tom Zimmermann says:

    Off-topic but I have always wondered why Americans say Is-riel instead of Israel. Everyone else says Is-ra-el (there is an A in it)…

    I agree with this article, it is annoying when people are too lazy to pronounce or spell something correctly.

  35. Stacy says:

    Don, did you contact me regarding how to obtain Clay Lacy’s autobiography?

  36. JuliaZ says:

    Patrick, what do you think of Southwest’s new livery? I think it’s a step backwards. They paid for a custom font that looks just like Facebook’s, they took their name off the tail, and they changed the belly from the incredibly distinctive red to blue with the WN heart, done in stripes to make it harder to parse from a distance. Best of all, it’s not a rebranding (according to them), and they’re doing it on the cheap (“cost-neutral”) which means it will take SEVEN years to roll it out to the whole fleet and THREE years to update all the airports and signage. There’s a lot to not like here… but why am I surprised? I don’t like WN — they refuse to allow pax with severe peanut allergies to even ask their neighbors to not eat them, almost killing me on a SFO – SEA run — but I expect better than this from them, because they seemed to know who they were as an airline, and now they’re messing with it in useless ways.

  37. Stephen R. Stapleton says:

    What about:

    Oceanic Airlines v. Oceanic Airways?

    Trans American Airlines v. Trans American Air?

    FlyLo Airway or just FlyLo?

    Windsor Airlines or Windsor Air?

    Atlantic International Airlines or just Atlantic International?

    Volée Airlines or Volée Airways?

    Fresh Air or Fresh Airlines?

    I checked this all with FinderSpyder.

  38. bobbi says:

    > at least two carriers
    > that rely on the singular “Airline.”
    > Emirates Airline, and the lesser-known
    > Sky Airline of Chile.
    > Frankly they’d be better off with the “s.”

    Verily!

    That’s not much of a ‘line with only a single route…

  39. bobbi says:

    > the post below, much like its author,
    > is pedantic, petulant, overbearing and annoying.

    “Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That.” (c) ™ (pat pend)

  40. bobbi says:

    > To camel cap or not to camel cap?
    > EgyptAir, not “Egyptair” or “Egypt Air.”

    Those aren’t camelCase.

    Like a camel, camelCase is short at the ends with (tall) bumps in the middle, so it always starts and ends with lowercase.

    Programmers use camelCase to distinguish words without non-printable “whiteSpace” characters.

  41. bobbi says:

    Da Pilot wrote,
    > Why does there have to be an “air” suffix at all?

    Air, bus and train lines all work pretty similarly, if viewed from a sufficient distance, while squinting hard enough, especially among some in-DUHHH-visuals.

    Best to make *very* clear I should board the *plane*, not the train, not the motor coach, not the cruise ship, not the Virgin Galactic Space Line craft.

    Or maybe it’s just tradition.

    Most likely, it’s a status-oriented legacy of finer days when air transport was a luxurious appurtenance of wealth and success that “commoners” could only try to imagine during their arduous, days-or-weeks-long journeys across the oceans and continents by ocean-going or rail-bound “stink pot”.

    One wonders whether modern air travel still deserves the luxurious connotations of “Air travel”.