As a traveling guru, I think myself cool for knowing all the airlines, the alliances, and how to apply that knowledge towards a $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World itinerary.
While some of the names are self-explanatory: Air Berlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, and SriLankan Airlines (newly added to One World), others are only recognizable by their livery and country of origin.
Beyond that, I have no idea why they are called what they are called. Similar to the International Brew Awards, I’m learning tidbits of knowledge that can carry a conversation if you’re ever bored at an airplane lounge. For example, I found out that Carlsberg is from Denmark in my ‘Go To Brew‘ post and the origin of the term ‘banquet beer‘ in the next nomination. Researching airlines, I also found some fun facts starting with Abu Dhabi’s own Etihad Airways.
As an intermediate’ Arabic speaker according to my Linked-In profile, I should know what ‘etihad’ means. Since I didn’t I had to ask my mom for a proper translation because Google’s translation of ‘united’ wouldn’t convey the message in English as well as an explanation in Arabic. Roughly speaking, etihad translates as ‘together’ or ‘join in one’ which goes with the name of the country United Arab Emirates. The UAE is divided into seven emirates with the more known emirates being Dubai, Sharjah, and the capital Abu Dhabi. Incidentally, each counts as a ‘country’ according to the TCC country count list.
Make no mistake, though Etihad may mean ‘united’ or ‘come together’ there is a strong rivalry that exists among the emirates. The rise of Etihad Airways to a global player not a regional carrier is a result of Dubai’s Sheikh Maktoum’s refusal to sell Emirates to Abu Dhabi after seeking a bailout during the financial downturn. Emirates Airlines is the pride and joy of Dubai and there was no way that Sheikh Maktoum would part with it. Dubai did change the name of one of the world’s tallest buildings from Burj Dubai to Burj Khalifa, the name of Sheikh Khalifa, the president of the UAE, to pay tribute.
I’ve yet to fly on Etihad but when I do I’ll at least know what it means.
This wasn’t the case for the football club Manchester City whose marketers didn’t do their due diligence when agreeing to call their field Etihad stadium, unknowingly incorporating the name of their bitter rival Manchester United.