8 Airlines With Unfortunate Names

by SharonKurheg

When deciding the name of an airline, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. What do you want it to project? Aviation? A country? A sense of seriousness or whimsy? Most importantly, you want to make sure the name isn’t already taken and trademarked. And in today’s day and age, you want to make sure it’s available on social media and as a domain name (read: Don’t invent “Coca Cola Airlines.” You won’t go far).

With that in mind, there are some airlines where you hear the name and just get a certain feeling about them.

  • United Airlines – they’re working together towards a common goal. They’re united.
  • Cathay Dragon – they were trying to convey a sense of strength (and possibly breathing fire)
  • Fastjet – pretty self-explanatory

Other airlines’ names are positive in that you immediately know where they’re from.

  • Icelandic Air
  • Air Albania
  • Surinam Airways

And then you have some airlines with names that are just…unfortunate. Sometimes the name was chosen for personal reasons and you kind of have to ask, “What were they thinking?” And yes, we’re based in the U.S., and English is our primary language, so it could be that a name that’s perfectly fine in one country just doesn’t translate well here. Here are some examples:

Bearskin Airlines

Hailing from Canada, Bearskin Airlines has been around since 1963. I have to admit it’s not their name that’s unfortunate, but their motto “Let the bear take you there.” And even then, it probably depends on who you are. I mean, I’m sure my LGBTQIA+ friends are smiling. BTW, happy “almost Pride,” y’all! Let the bear take you there, indeed!

BRA Airlines

This is one of those situations where something gets lost in the translation. BRA Airlines is short for Braathens Regional Airlines. The Swedish-based carrier was founded in 2022 and it’s not their fault that in English, a “bra” is short for brassiere, which is an undergarment to hoist up the girls and keep ’em in place.

Hooters Air

a group of women in matching outfitsAnd speaking of boobs…Hooters Air was a U.S. airline that lasted for about 3 years in the early 2000s. It was established by Robert Brooks who also owned, of course, Hooters Restaurant. The restaurant chain is still in business, by the way.

The Lord’s Airline

Founded in 1985, The Lord’s Airline was specifically made for Jews and Christians to make pilgrimages from Miami to Jerusalem. The theme of the flights would be very religious in nature. From Simple Flying:

The US-based carrier planned to fly three times a week between Florida and Israel, and its aircraft would include unique features such as a no-alcohol policy as well as Bibles and Torahs in place of in-flight magazines. Furthermore, only religious movies would be shown for IFE, every seat back would have a plaque with the Ten Commandments, and there would be in-flight religious classes for children.

The idea never got off the ground (you see what I did there?) and the idea was abandoned in 1987.


Founded as a low-cost carrier in Japan in 2011, Peach is another airline with an unfortunate translation. Sure, it’s a lovely fruit. Princess Peach (no relation) is also a character in multiple Nintendo games and films.

Peach is also a euphemism for women’s genitalia.

Ransome Air

Ransome Air was a regional airline headquartered in Philadelphia, PA from 1967 to 1995. There was nothing wrong with the airline…it’s just that “Ransome” is too close to “Ransom” and then you wonder about hijackings and…

SCAT Airlines

a plane on a runwayHailing out of Şymkent, Kazakhstan, since 1997, SCAT’s full name is Special Cargo Air Transport. It’s not their fault they didn’t check to see every English word for “poop” before picking a name.

Wizz Air

We like Hungary-based Wizz Air because its policies are very fair for travelers. But once again, a name that’s harmless in Hungarian can make people giggle if they know what it means in English.

Special Mentions

There were other airlines that woulda-coulda-shoulda made the list, but we didn’t want to make the list too long. But props to Gandalf Airlines (Italy), Happy Air (Thailand), Robin Hood Aviation (Austria), Touch and Go Airlines (Russia) and U-Land Airlines (Taiwan).

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Dennis singh May 22, 2024 - 5:56 pm

Don’t forget Lauda Air. Lauda means penis in many Indian languages.

SharonKurheg May 22, 2024 - 7:28 pm

My bad for speaking English as my primary language, and 8 years of Spanish in school, a bajillion years ago. 😉 That’s another good one, though!


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