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What's In a Name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet wrote Shakespeare in 1594, but he wasn’t naming airlines, was he? Coming up with a catchy company name is hard, but it’s not that hard. The name can convey the romance of early air travel, much like “Pan American World Airways,” or “Trans World Airline...

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Courtesy WizzAir.com.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet wrote Shakespeare in 1594, but he wasn’t naming airlines, was he? Coming up with a catchy company name is hard, but it’s not that hard. The name can convey the romance of early air travel, much like “Pan American World Airways,” or “Trans World Airlines” used to. Or something simple might be best: think “Air France” or “Northwest Airlines.”

Some names are perfectly fine within their own countries, but don’t translate well into American English—Scat Air of Kazakhstan, and Hungary’s Wizz Air come to mind. And don’t forget Suckling Aviation (now ScotAirways).

Which brings us to Ecuador’s Icaro Air. Naming your airline after the boy who flew too close to the sun and then plunged into the ocean just seems…wrong.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s 1Time Airline seems bent on discouraging travelers from making a return trip. We have to admit that Taiwan’s U-Land Airlines was a pretty catchy moniker (but the company’s inadequate safety practices put it out of business in 2000).

Other names just don’t sound particularly aerodynamic: Canada’s Bearskin Airlines and Air Wagon International (now AirAsia) fall into that category. There’s also Nepal’s Yeti Airlines, although some might argue that linking a hairy human-like animal to a transportation company is fairly inspired.

Got an unusual airline name? Leave us a comment.

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