I'm wondering if there is a common placeholder name for an airline, either implying a legally disclosed or fictional entity, which is frequently used?

For instance, I've seen the terms containing 'widgets' used very often in an economics context. John Doe is often used in legal cases.

*"Placeholder names are words that can refer to objects or people whose names are temporarily forgotten, irrelevant, or unknown in the context in which they are being discussed." -Wikipedia

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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to ask my sister Alice to ask her friend Bob about this, but she has been charged with mopery due to financial irregularities surrounding her purchase of Blackacre in Outerstan, so I'll need a few cartons of Morley cigarettes from BigCo to bribe the Lord High Executioner. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ @RobertColumbia Alice can't talk to Bob. Carol is listening. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 12:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Jamiec Eve is listening. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 12:53
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby Eve's dropping. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ The thing about "widgets" is we know almost nothing about what they are. Any kind of airline is already in a much more specific industry than a widget manufacturer. I suppose you don't want a name of an airline from a particular work of fiction, that is, you want something analogous to John Doe and not John McClane. $\endgroup$
    – David K
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 14:51

3 Answers 3


I think Oceanic Airlines is well known fictive airline. It is used widely in Lost and also Alias, Castle, JAG, Category 6: Day of Destruction and in Executive Decision (the material from this movie was reused in a lot of low budget movies).

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    $\begingroup$ You do not want to fly on that airline! $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ But it ensures a weird adventure! $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think I had ever heard of this one. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ Probably you should stop flying yourself and watch the onboard-entertainment :p $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ As long as Tom Hanks isn't your pilot, you'll probably be fine. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 19:14

I would suggest Acme.

At least within certain communities, Acme is a generally recognized placeholder name for airlines. This includes Acme Airlines, Acme Red, Acme Giant, Acme Express, etc. This convention is often used in the podcast world as a means of referring to one's employing company without directly naming the company but still differentiating between many of the real airlines. However, these names may have outgrown their placeholder status in some cases and may now be synonymous with the names of the real airlines.

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Artwork from the APG community

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    $\begingroup$ That's a really nice logo for A Company Moving Everything. Looks cute. $\endgroup$
    – PerlDuck
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ I remember the old Warner Brother's cartoon's used to use ACME for just about every company you could imagine. I'd have to think one of them was an airline at some point or another. $\endgroup$
    – Jae Carr
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JayCarr Considering that (IIRC) Wile E. Coyote was able to procure rockets from Acme Corp, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they are into airlines as well. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ Credit for this Acme logo should go to The Airline Pilot Guy, Capt. Jeff and his crew. airlinepilotguy.com Great podcast, by the way. $\endgroup$
    – thetoolman
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ @thetoolman Agreed, though it wasn't created by Jeff Nielsen but someone from the community (I forget who). $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 1:16

Why not use a variation on the "generic company names" from the aforementioned Wikipedia page?

For example, Acme Airlines, Ace Airlines, XYZ Air.

If it's a small airline, Mom and Pop Air.

Note that in the example "XYZ Widget Company," the idea is to obscure not only the identity of the company, but also to obscure what they do. Since you have stated you want an airline, the "widget" part of the company name is redundant. That's why I suggested simply replacing "Widget Company" with "Airlines" or "Air".

If the generic airline is not associated with a particular market, an alternative is to use a placeholder geographical name: Utopia Airlines or Air Ruritania for a national-scale airline, Podunk Airlines for a local operation.

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    $\begingroup$ The small scale operation will be named Mom and Pop Air but will have Utopia livery on their aircraft and do business as Utopia Connection... $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHampton Yes! :-) $\endgroup$
    – David K
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 17:41

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