Flag Orientation, Missing Kiwis and One Airport's Demise


The Points Guy ran a post recently on American flags painted supposedly backwards on the sides of airplanes. I had never noticed this before - perhaps because I rarely fly in the States, but sure enough a Google image search of American Airlines clearly points the American flag painted backwards; or is it?

AA Backwards.JPG

The reason, it turns out, is because US regulations require the star field of the flag to be positioned toward the front, thereby giving the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the wearer, or airplane in our instance, moves forward. The article further mentions that other countries observe this rule as well, and sure enough, I looked up Qantas and the Australian flag is "backwards" as seen below. 

Qantas backwards.JPG

Now obviously this wouldn't be a factor on planes carrying the Canadian flag given its symmetry, or flags that are horizontally symmetrical (KLM). But it would matter for planes carrying flags that aren't vertically symmetrical like Mexico's flag carrier, Aeromexico. 

Aeromexico Backwards.JPG



This is not so much about missing Kiwis as it is about their country being left off maps. I came across this courtesy of a hilarious YouTube video featuring comedian Rhys Darby who gets wind of an apparent conspiracy to leave New Zealand off world maps. Rhys then phones up Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, pledging to get to the bottom of it all. As the video progresses we see several theories being put forth - Australia wants New Zealand's tourists, England wants to get rid of their rugby team and the wine industry wants to crush New Zealand's pinot and sav! Or, Rhys admits, it could be because "we're quite a fiddly looking shaped country, a bit like a half-eaten lamb chop. Perhaps people are leaving us off thinking we're a mistake". The camera then pans to Jacinda looking at a map only to discover her country's been left off it. The video ends with a simple message to #GETNZONTHEMAP. 

I think this is a brilliant campaign that uses humour to raise awareness. The tweet asks, Is it on your map?, which works both in the literal sense and also broadly by asking whether New Zealand is on audience's mind as a travel destination. There is now a website where users can submit maps that leave off the country and even a subreddit with 42k subscribers. Great job, New Zealand! I know I'll pay closer attention the next time I look at a world map. 



An article in the New York Times highlighted the demise of Memphis International Airport (MEM). Once a designated hub for Northwest Airlines, Memphis has seen a steep decline in passenger traffic as a result of the merger between Northwest and Delta in 2008 and Delta's consolidation of traffic at its Atlanta (ATL) hub. The impact has been massive; consider that MEM carried only 4.1 million passengers in 2017 compared to 11.2 million in 2007, a decline of almost 63% in a span of 10 years.  

The article highlights a sprawling terminal with three concourses that is now undergoing a $219 million dollar modernization effort on mothballing Concourses A and C and consolidating operations at Concourse B. 

Things aren't all that bad, though. MEM is the world's 2nd busiest airport by cargo weight, second only to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), thanks to FedEx's Super Hub. Still, Memphis offers a lesson on the impact that a hub designation can have for an airport.