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Don't print my name upside down: A Cathay Pacific tweet admission

Don’t print my name upside down

ACCORDING to some online opinions – especially perhaps amongst its burgeoning community of disaffected pilots – there’s literally no ‘f’ in Cathay Pacific anymore.

The Hong Kong airline shot itself in the nose wheel when pictures of its newly mis-painted aircraft appeared with the spelling of its famous name erroneously changed from Cathay PACIFIC Airways to Cathay PACIIC Airways. With the embarrassing error gloriously emblazoned across the fuselage, at least it generated some laughter around the air transport world, writes Nigel Tomkins.

Misspellings happen everywhere, of course, not least in the publishing industry, which is a world leader when it comes to misprints and, over the years as a writer and editor, I have surely been as erroneous and guilty as the next journalist.

My lame excuse has always been to hide behind the sheer numbers – the vast volume of work generated and the daily mass outpourings of words – and I have usually taken some sort of comfort from the fact that making the occasional typographical mistake among so many thousands of words may generously be shrugged off by most readers.

But Cathay Pacific Airways consists of only three words. And in this unfortunate instance 33 per cent of them are gloriously wrong. Who was responsible for checking this? I bet no manager owns up.

Nevertheless, we all get to laugh at those infuriating predictive texts on our mobile devices that turn ‘DEAR SIR’ into ‘DEAD SID’, or the locally announced ‘PUBIC notices’, or the ‘SCOOL for dyslexia’.

Sometimes typos can produce harmless fun and games, even if many are now savagely politically incorrect. So I wondered what would happen if other air transport companies suffered the same fate as Cathay PACIIC.

Here’s a small selection of suggestions/ideas, no offence intended:

In the blistering heat of Dubai, the letters that make up Emirates are easily scrambled to create STEAMIER; controversially, United Airlines has already become UNTIED Airlines in a mock website; and In the Philippines I saw a poster advertising GOLF Air – quite possibly it was written by someone at freight forwarder SCHANKERS – and I remember someone, probably deliberately, once referring to BRUTISH Airways. At various times, I’ve seen Customs and EXERCISE, and BOING instead of Boeing, as well as the former US carrier written as CONTIMENTAL and on one occasion SAS even became SOS.

I have enjoyed many other examples of such mistakes. I recall reading the word AEROFLOP in reference to Russia’s flag carrier – but that was in the 1970s when such a mistake seemed rather more apt; and TURDISH Airlines still seems particularly rude. I received a press release once with its predictive text deciding that the word Panalpina’s was in fact PANEL PENIS.

Fortunately, there is no airline called Funk Airways.

Read more stories about Cathay Pacific here

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