The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I suppose United Airlines could have picked an even stupider name for it's cut-rate discount airline than Ted. But it's hard to believe that's possible.

In case you don't get it: It's "Ted", derived from Uni-TED. Ha. Ha.

Considering that UAL is just coming out of bankruptcy, I can only conclude that the strategy behind this inane name is to send the company right back into Chapter 11.

Take note of the other knucklehead names for low-frills airline offshoots:

SONG: Delta Air Lines targeted women when it launched its new low-cost airline with simple fares and sky-blue leather seats. The name was "meant to evoke feelings people have about their favorite piece of music," according to John Selvaggio, CEO of the carrier.

VIRGIN: Virgin Atlantic, the "rock 'n' roll" airline, was formed by Richard Branson, who also founded Virgin Music after a publishing venture failed. He opted for Virgin because he and his partners were such novices.

JETBLUE: Expensive consultants came up with duds like "egg," "it" and "Air Hop." The airline toyed with "True Blue" but found out that name was owned by a rental-car business. With time running out, the company went with "JetBlue," an employee's suggestion.

HOOTERS: The owner of the Hooters restaurant chain, known for waitresses in tight T-shirts and shorts, bought up the assets of bankrupt Vanguard Airlines and named it after the chicken wing eatery, which is named for, well, you figure it out.

JAZZ: Air Canada's regional carrier had operated under four names. Last year, the airline combined them under the Air Canada Jazz name to "build on the strengths of the four existing brands," said Joseph D. Randell, president of the carrier. He said the Jazz label "acts as a metaphor for being youthful, vibrant, innovative, flexible and part of the local community."