A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

UM … the mother of all carriers

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 26, 2008

When I reached the gate for my Kuwait flight the other day, I noticed something funny through the window.

A plane was parked at the adjacent gate – and no, that wasn’t the funny part. This was a plane with a very curious brand name:

um-air.jpg

(Photo courtesy of Airplanephotos.de)

I couldn’t help myself – I burst out laughing. (Yes, giving a big boost to the reputation of foreigners in Lebanon: traveling alone, with almost no luggage, and laughing. I wouldn’t want to sit next to me, either😛.)

I laughed because I thought: Ummm Air? Ummm … I think I’ll fly a different airline.

Silly me – I was thinking about how the name sounded in English. Luckily, H was standing by to reframe it in local terms.

“Um” means “mother”, and “ayr” mean … well … let’s just say that the airline’s name is funny, but bad. And bad enough that in order to fly it without shame you really would have to book online, because telling a travel agent “I’d like to fly UM Air” would be mortifying.

As it turns out, the “UM” stands for “Ukrainian-Mediterranean”, so yes: adding another sexual twist to the story, this could very well be the airline that brings Eastern Europe’s “working girls” to Beirut.

What the Mother of Air is not doing is bringing them to Europe proper: UM Air is on the EU’s list of banned carriers, thanks to assorted safety violations.

But to Beirut International, ahlan w sahlan😐.

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