The Language of Travel – Acronyms for Airlines

Source:  via Katheryn on Pinterest

Oscar’s for Airlines drew a lot of comments and a lot of opinions – we who travel have strong feelings on the vehicles that get us from place to place, as well we should.

Third culture kids and global nomads speak the language of travel. When they reminisce, it’s not about what happened in their town or city, it’s usually about travel. How often have conversations begun “Remember when we were on our way to [fill in the blank]?” “Yes! Do you remember how [fill in the blank] got sick?” 

The language of travel includes airline delays and lay overs. It includes third-rate guest houses and five-star hotels; friends you can stay with and best cheap eateries; airline reviews and all the best websites for travel. The language of travel includes anticipation and longing, reminiscing and dreaming. This is the language of travel.

Part of the language of travel is developing acronyms or tag lines for airlines. This was a favorite way of communicating as kids – we had our own language for these airlines. Somehow it set us apart and allowed us to have something all our own; an area where we were skilled and set apart.

So today we’re going to speak the language of travel. Bring on the acronyms! I’ll get us started, but you all have to keep it going!

What other acronyms have you heard? Join in Acronyms for Airlines! If you haven’t heard any use your creativity and make one up! The person who comes up with the most unusual will receive a copy of Alain de Botton‘s book “The Art of Travel“. May the odds be ever in your favor!

29 thoughts on “The Language of Travel – Acronyms for Airlines

  1. Air Afrique was not so affectionately referred to as Air Freak. I was just talking about it with my interns today–we were telling airport and airplane stories.


    1. One of my favorite things to do is tell airport and airplane stories. I wish I had been in the discussion. Some of my favorites came out of Lagos, Nigeria. Thanks for playing Acronyms for Airlines. :)


  2. Hahahaha! This is great! Some ones that my group often use are: Such A Bad Experience, Never Again (SABENA), ‘K, Long Meal (KLM), Aero Flop, and A** F**K (Air France).


    1. Brilliant! I had never heard the SABENA one until a few weeks ago on another post. My favorite is quite possibly Air France……what does that say about me?!


  3. The one I remember for PIA was “Perhaps incomplete arrival” British Airways, was “Better After” and TWA (Trans World Airlines) was Teeny, Weeny Airlines. In Laos, the national carrier was called Lao Aviation for many years, which many customers felt should more likely be: “Lao Aggravation”


  4. Speaking of Merpati – we used to say that we flew on the May Not Arrive flights (Merpati Nusantara Airlines)


  5. This is a hospital acronym but it seems funny anyway. When I lived in Guam the hospital, GMH (Guam Memorial Hospital) was referred to as the Guam Murder House or Get Me to Hawaii.


    1. Great one! Have you seen the humorous translations from Latin America? One of them was a translation of the American “Got Milk?” add which translated as “Are you Lactating?”


      1. You never forget those times. When I think of the hours spent in airports I realize why TCK’s are so comfortably uncomfortable there!


  6. In China many of my friends often say “TIC” (This is China) to explain the inexplicable things that happen around this country. There’s often no other explanation than TIC!


    1. This is so completely understandable. I sort of wish we had used this in Pakistan (TIP) In Egypt it was the IBM principle “Insh’allah, Bukhara, Malesh” Which literally meant God willing, Tomorrow, Don’t worry! and stood for anyything that was delayed or stalled – which was actually everything.


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