Here's a blast from the past. Anyone remember these airlines? Busy Bee, Flamingo, Velvet Sky and Birdy. Or how about Teddy or Ted? These were real names of real carriers but sadly all have long since flown to that great hangar in the sky.
Lucky for us there are plenty of other oddly named airlines still around and here are some of them. I admit I haven't flown most of them but next time I get the urge to climb Mt. Everest, you can be sure I'll give Yeti Airlines a shot.
A few of my favorite oddly-named airlines follow, in no particular order:
This India-based low cost airline has been around for 20 years and is a favorite with its countrymen which probably has more to do with its cheap flights than melodious name, but it does fire up the imagination. One of my employees envisions flight attendant Posh screaming at everyone to turn off their electronic devices though I like the idea of a cargo hold brimming with cinnamon. The carrier's inflight magazine does feature interesting recipes with intriguing ingredients including plenty of spices. Juniper-flavored chicken pasta, anyone?
The Nepal-based carrier's planes display a striking logo of a very large footprint - get it? And get used to it because this little airline loves its Abominable Snowman mascot and will happily sell you all kinds of Yeti-inspired memorabilia including T-shirts featuring the hirsute monster with the legend, "I exist." Or maybe you'd prefer a pair of furry 'Big Foot' slippers featuring protruding claws (a bargain at $4.50). Sorry, these items can only be purchased at the Kathmandu airport or aboard a Yeti Airlines flight.
You say a trip to the Himalayas isn't on your vacation agenda this year? SkyMall has the next best thing to being there with a life-size Garden Yeti statue ($2,250).
This Philippines airline began life as Asian Spirit but was rebranded Zest in 2008 (this was said to be a nod to its new parent company which owns a beverage company called Zest-o). The Zest marketing team coined the slogan, Asia's Most Refreshing Airline and its ads are definitely different. My favorite: "With fares so low, you can shop more!" By the way, I noticed on their Facebook page that Zest wants to hire more flight attendants; among the requirements is a "clear complexion and a good set of teeth."
I was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon so maybe I'm biased but this regional carrier with the fiery logo sure seems like a winner and many agree; the Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Cathay Pacific routinely makes 'best airline' lists. Beyond the name, though, there's nothing particularly quirky about Dragonair; both its website and Facebook pages are informative and no-nonsense. That said, I did notice an interesting tip on the site's "Inflight Health" section warning passengers against consuming "gas-generating food" such as beans and cabbage. I sincerely hope the spicy green curry sometimes served on Dragonair flights to Phuket is cabbage-free.
This Budapest-based discounter, like all low cost carriers, has a list of optional fees as long as your arm (I quit counting at 60) but one in particular intrigued me, the "On Time Arrival Guarantee" fee (about $13). If you pay this fee and your flight is delayed more than an hour, they credit you with $133 to use on a future flight. Not bad! But why would a carrier called Wizz Air ever be late?
I was sorry to see the Swiss airline Hello go bust last year (but not as sorry as the 3,000 passengers left stranded, I'm sure); it had such a friendly name. The good news is, we still have Hello Kitty Airlines; well, kind of. This "airline" consists of planes flown by Taiwan's EVA Air painted to resemble the Hello Kitty cartoon characters that threaten to take over the world (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, you obviously don't have a five year old daughter). You can fly a Hello Kitty jet from Taipei to Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and more but if you're traveling with that five year old, open your wallet. EVA Air has loads of Hello Kitty souvenirs for sale, from pendants to flight bags and even Swarovski crystal figurines ($206).
This discount is different from its luxurious sister-carrier, Singapore Airlines but what sets it apart from all others, according to its website, is 'Scootitude'. This is defined as a combination of cool, daring, friendliness and quirkiness, perfectly embodied in its cheeky slogan, "Get out of here!" Sounds like fun.
Yin and Yang
No, there's no Y&Y airline that I could find (although there is a Yinyang airport hotel in China). I was just thinking of a couple of carriers you probably have heard of that more or less illustrate Yin and Yang: Richard Branson's Virgin empire and Hooters Air. They are opposites for sure but here's the biggest difference: Virgin planes continue to soar around the world while Hooters was grounded seven years ago. Possibly there's a moral in there somewhere. Or not.
The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.