Aviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1370 posts, RR: 11 Posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 33694 times:
Doubtless this has been covered here at one point or another, but I was asked today why Southwest's two-digit IATA code is "WN." Many codes are random, but I have a feeling this one means something. (Yes, I know, the carrier's ICAO code is "LUV.")
HPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4991 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 33672 times:
I heard at the time of the airline's inception, SW was already taken, so the people in charge requested the first code available with "W" in it. Maybe that's totally false, but it's what I read once (probably on here!)
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 33660 times:
Southwest's original code was OE, but was changed early on to WN. As far as I can recall (from those who started in 1971; I didn't arrive until 1977), Southwest's first choice was SW, but that was in use by then Seabord World, a freight outfit. WN was just the next one on the list, and had no special meaning. Of course, some say it was for "We're Nuts" in reference to the book about Southwest, but that book didn't come out for another couple of decades...
I was referring to the fact that they both have "West" in the name...
Having traveled with my dad a few times I've seen confusion over less than that. He couldn't make heads or tails over having AA on his boarding pass, AA logos at the gate, but TWA on the plane. So these things cross my mind.
NWrr From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 33079 times:
Quoting Vatveng (Reply 9): I always thought it was because it was the opposite of Northwest: NW --> WN
I wonder how many pax get Northwest and Southwest confused?
I work in res for NW, and you would NOT believe how many people get confused because both airlines have the word "West" in them. One person actually said, "What's the difference?" I was momentarily taken aback before answering, "They're a different airline, and since you're ticket is with them, you'll need to call them for assistance with your reservation."
So, yes, it happens often.
Welcome to the back of the boat...the non-rev section
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 32486 times:
Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 13): Actually I think the code SW was used back then by Namib Air (formerly Suidwes Lugdiens) from South West Africa (now Namibia). The carrier is now called Air Namibia, but the code is still SW.
Seaboard World was sucked up by Flying Tiger in 1980, and the African airline you mention apparently got "SW" subsequent to that. Southwest could have gone after it, but at (then) only 9 years old, Southwest had better things to spend its money on, and it stayed with "WN".
HoosierCFI From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 96 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 31801 times:
Quoting JerseyGuy (Reply 5): They told Southwest that they didn't have SW available and asked them if they would like to use a random code and they replied "Why Not" and so they were assigned WN. Big grin Although thats only a rumor
AirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 31524 times:
Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 6): WN was just the next one on the list, and had no special meaning. Of course, some say it was for "We're Nuts" in reference to the book about Southwest, but that book didn't come out for another couple of decades...
I remember reading that Herb told them at the time to take the next one that comes along with a W in it and WN was what was first to than come available; don't know if that is true or not though.
It would appear so...and that what the website said and what I was told were incorrect...
So, the revised, corrected sequence of events...
Southwest originally has OE, but wanted something else. "SW" was already in use by the African outfit. Southwest takes the first thing with a "W" in it, which is "WN" (and has no other significance) and that brings us to the present-day.
B737100 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 30744 times:
I used to confuse WN and WC when Wien Air Alaska (formerly Wien Consolidated) was still around. Air California was XK, then switched to OC, since AC was not available (LOL). The aircraft did have AC in their registration numbers, ie N471AC.