I just saw this question about lost luggage with United. Currently it's only tagged for and .

I was about to add the "airlines" tag when I thought "Should that tag only be used when comparing airlines or also for specific airlines" which led me to also ponder "why not have tags for various individual airlines" since they will obviously not do everything identically.

I went ahead and created the tag "united-airlines" while we discuss it and VMAtm has changed that to since it happens there are also standard codes for airlines much like the standard codes for airports which we are already using. Maybe people will create others, maybe we will delete it. Let's talk about it and see...

Vote this question up/down based on whether you think specific airline tags are a good idea generally, voting here won't cover your preference for full names versus airline codes

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    Well it seems all the voting has slowed to a stop on this question now and the (small) consensus is: 1) that tagging individual airlines is a good idea 2) airline names are better than 2-letter IATA codes. So if some pro-tem would like to could you please create full-name tags for each existing airline code tag and then move the code tags to being synonyms of the full names. If you feel strongly against this then keep voting! Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 16:35

3 Answers 3


I don't see the point. How many questions are there going to be that are about one particular airline?

If there are enough questions about an airline to justify a tag, the tag should be the full name, not the not-well-known and unfathomable two-letter abbreviation. The same arguments apply as for airport names, even more so when there are two letters instead of three. When I see a ua tag, the first thought that comes to mind is “Ukraine”. When I see us, I think of the United States, not of — which one would it be: US Airways, Unavia Suisse, USAir, or USAir Express?

(Voting here just says Gilles's answer is good, it won't count as a vote for either having individual airline tags or as a vote for whether to use airline codes vs airlines names, as the answer covers both notions)

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    I tend to agree with you as far as the codes but I'm happy to go with whatever most people prefer. As for trying to guess in advance on the number of questions well that's unanswerable but when I looked for them we did already have several questions asking about specific airlines and we had two which already had an airline tag, more than many of our current tags have. Now it turns out that us may cover both Unavia Suisse and USAir, which does indeed seem bad. Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 8:46
  • May then we should use three-letters ICAO codes?
    – VMAtm
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 11:39
  • Three letter airlines codes will surely conflict with three letter airport codes. We could use the ICAO airport codes but unlike the IATA ones they're not well known by normal people. Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 11:51
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    @hippietrail and VMAtm: why not use the full name? The correspondance between the tag and the subject would be immediately obvious, and there would be little risk of ambiguity. Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 19:10
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    @hippietrail: I agree with Gilles here that the airline codes are ... let's just say I've spent a lot of time in the air and never heard of them. Lets do common-name style. I do think that they will be useful, lots of travel questions are specific to transit providers. I do think three letter airport codes as tags are fine since those are seen by everybody who flies and easily searchable.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 19:50
  • @Caleb I haven't flown much, but I've been exposed to airline codes more than to airport codes. The only places where I've seen airport codes are on airline tickets, next to the airport name (so redundant, why bother learning them?). I've seen (two-letter) airline codes only on airline tickets as well, but not always redundant because of code sharing (so only one of the airline has its name written in full). Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 20:03
  • @Gilles: Your probably right and I have seen them. I assume the codes are generally the things prefixed to some airlines flight numbers. However I could name airports I've been to by their airport code and not be able to tell you which city I was in. One of my worst travel stories is happened when I got bumped from an overbooked flight and while making my way standby neither I nor a desk-clerk properly matched airport codes and I got booked into and out of different airports in Paris. All that to say they are pretty important! Most travel websites use them as part of their user interface.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 20:10
  • @Gilles: As I said "I'm happy to go with whatever most people prefer." Some of the full names can be a bit quirky or long but I think that won't be a problem as long as people don't do silly things like "China Airlines" instead of "China Airways" or "China Air" - sometimes more than one will exist with one being more well known or international. Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 13:39
  • I hadn't realized it but of course I have seen airline codes as part of my flight numbers and I've also seen airport codes on luggage labels plus some airports like LAX are well known by their codes. I was only aware of knowing some airports codes but it turns out I knew some of both. Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 13:41

I think we should do as we did with IATA-airports codes, and add IATA code for the airlines. For United airlines, it is UA, I've added it to the question ().

Maybe, we should create synonims for the IATA codes as they will appear.

Also, may be we must use ICAO code - they are three letters length, and more specific.

Vote this answer up/down based on whether you think specific airline tags using the 2-letter IATA airline codes is a good idea

  • Ah. I was actually wondering if there were airline codes but my browser got too bogged down to do a search in another window. Nice work (-: It seems at least one person disagrees though no comment yet... Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 9:04
  • @hippietrail This is my vote, as I disagree with tag united-airlines
    – VMAtm
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 9:10
  • I'm happy with either united-airlines (as most people will probably do that initially - they won't know the IATA code), but UA is a 'better' answer, as people might put united, UA, or for Air New Zealand they may put airnz, air-nz, air-new-zealand or the IATA code.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 9:58
  • I've kept the ball rolling by adding u2 for EasyJet and fr for Ryanair and I'm looking for more questions about individua airlines... Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 11:22
  • I've added a few more including sq for Singapore Airlines but since singapore-airlines had already been created would somebody like to merge them? (I could just delete it but it is a good synonym) Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 11:33
  • Merged them successfully.
    – VMAtm
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 11:51
  • @hippietrail Don't forget to create tag-synonyms :)
    – VMAtm
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 12:00
  • @VMAtm: I don't have sufficient superpowers to create tag synonyms most of the time. Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 14:53
  • @hippietrail I mean suggest the synonyms.
    – VMAtm
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 15:02
  • @VMAtm: Even to suggest synonyms I need a certain "score" in the tag(s) I'm suggesting (or superpower). So I was able to suggest one or two in the past couple of days but at least one other - I think the Singapore one - I couldn't \-: Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 16:36
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    I do a lot of air travel and have never heard of these IATA codes. Unlike airport codes that all travelers encounter both during planning and en-route, the airline codes are a technically not usually noticed and hence strongly counter-intuitive for a site like this that is user-focused. Using the common-name with aliases for name variations seems like a better idea to me.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 19:57

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