Home Airlines How Many of These Airline Acronyms Do You Know?

How Many of These Airline Acronyms Do You Know?

by SharonKurheg

If it wasn’t for acronyms, we would have a mouthful of words/names to say. CVS would be Consumer Value Stores. AT&T would still be its original 1885-era American Telephone and Telegraph. GEICO would be known as Government Employees Insurance Company.

The same goes for airlines, How many of these acronyms do you know?

  • ANA
    All Nippon Airways (Nippon is the Japanese word for “Japan”)
  • COPA
    Compañía Panameña de Aviación (it means Panamanian Aviation Company in English)
  • BOAC
    British Overseas Airway Corporation
    LAN – Linea Aérea Nacional & TAM – Táxi Aéreo Marília (Chile’s LAN Airlines and Brazil’s TAM Airlines merged in 2012)
  • JAL
    Japan Airlines Company, Ltd.
  • KLM
    Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (it means Royal Aviation Company in English)
  • LIAT
    Leeward Islands Air Transport
  • LOT
    Polskie Linie Lotnicze (the Polish word “lot” means “flight”)
  • PAN-AM
    Pan-American Airlines
  • PSA
    Pacific Southwest Airlines
    Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services
  • SAS
    Scandinavian Airlines System
  • SATA
    Sociedade Açoreana de Transportes Aéreos (English: Azorean Air Transport Company)
  • TAAG
    Transportes Aéreos de Angola (in English, it means Air Transport of Angola)
  • TACA
    Transportes Aereos del Continente Americano, (Air Transports of the American Continent)
  • TAME
    Transportes Aéreos Militares Ecuatorianos (it means Ecuadorian Military Air Transport in English)
  • TAP
    Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (it means Portuguese Air Transportations in English)
    Transporturi Aeriene Române (in English it’s Romanian Air Transport)
  • TUI
    Touristik Union International (Tourism Union International)
  • TWA
    Trans World Airlines

I am embarrassed to admit how few of these I knew. OK, OK…4. How about you?

Of course, I would be amiss if I didn’t include some of the funny acronyms some people have come up with for some airlines:

  • AA (American Airlines)
    Always Awful
  • Air India
    Assuming I Return, I’ll Never Do It Again
  • Alitalia
    Always Late In Takeoff Always Late In Arrival
    After Landing In Turin All Luggage In Atlanta
  • BA (British Airways)
    Bloody Awful
    Bureaucracy, Always!
  • BOAC
    Better On Air Canada
    Better On A Camel
  • Comair
    Cancel Or Make Appropriate Itinerary Revisions
  • Cubana
    Castro usually boarded another airline
  • Delta
    Don’t Expect Luggage To Arrive
    Don’t Expect Lunch Today Aboard
    Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport
    Departing Extremely Late Throughout America
    Distributing Enraged Liquored Travelers About
  • El Al
    Every Landing Always Late
    Everyone’s Luggage Always Lost
  • Iberia
    It Beats Every Record In Awfulness
  • LOT
    Left On Tarmac
    Last One There
  • Lufthansa
    Let Us Fondle The Hostess And Not Say Anything
  • Olympic
    Onassis Likes Your Money Paid In cash
  • PAM AM
    Plan On Arriving Nervewracked And Mad
    Quick And Nasty Terrible Australian Service
    Queens And Nymphos Trained As Stewards
    Queasy And Nauseous Tired And Sic
  • Ryanair
    Really You Are Nuts: Avoid, It’s Rehensible
    Such A Bloody Experience Never Again
  • TACA
    Take a chance airlines
  • TAP
    Take Another Plane
  • TWA
    The Wrong Airline
    Try Walking Across

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian March 18, 2020 - 12:43 pm

On the first part you say that you were embarrassed at how few you knew. If you meant that you didn’t know that LOT was the Polish national airline I can understand but can you really be expected to know what KLM stands for? I’m an ex-travel agent and an aviation geek and I didn’t know.

SharonKurheg March 18, 2020 - 12:47 pm

I meant what they stood for. I only knew what PAN AM, TWA, ANA and JAL stood for. I don’t think that most know about KLM but I suspect some people know at least some of the others.

SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT March 18, 2020 - 3:23 pm

The real question to ask here is how many of these airlines will be left standing once the crisis is over?

One of my favorites:

Northwest Orient = Northwest Dis-orient
Picking on NWA – “if you see a red tail — ride the rails”

I was probably one of the very few that liked the “old” Northwest Orient/NWA before they purchased
Republic Airlines – my service was generally very good on NWA flights from LGA to the Twin Cities, and on to the Orient
on their 747 widebodies. Never cared for NWA’s DTW hub – but MSP was always very pleasant.

When I moved west to California – I would try to route myself through MSP for flights to Europe and back to New York, but only on mainline NWA jets – and not the ex-Republic DC9’s/MD-80’s. Just the 727’s, 757’s, DC-10-40’s and occasional 747 and A320 I never warmed up to their 330’s though – the DC-10-40’s were roomier. Never flew on their later acquired DC-10-30’s. Then Delta came along – and I moved on to other airlines…lol


Caroline Wynton-Rhodes January 28, 2022 - 2:12 am

I managed 11. But having spent 57 years in aviation, working all over the world as a pilot, l should have known more.

Antonio M. Fragoso January 30, 2022 - 2:31 am

-Todos os Aviões Parados (All planes stopped)
-Tamancos Aéreos Portugueses (Portuguese Air


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