Airline (Route) Map Oddities: From The Sea of Japan to the East Sea

Before starting to read books (this is ongoing), I chose maps.   That’s right, I can point out where all of the worlds Guineas are (what a novelty).  In fact, I participated in a couple of state geography bees (harsh reality?), but am still lamenting over not applying for a spot on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Contestants who were sent to place buzzers on the then-newly independent CIS states were perpetually bingung, rather, confused (sorry, haven’t written something in Indonesian for a while).A predilection for cartographic creations has helped make flights seem less long, especially when the only movie offerings are Drop Dead Fred or The Room.  Having a pen makes it even more pleasant, as I get to gerrymander US states or Cypriot regions to the toot of my own horn (note: haven’t done this yet).  Remember when Iran was upset about National Geographic magazine calling it the Arabian Gulf instead of the Persian Gulf?  I don’t have a problem with the complaint, but just as thought-provoking, if less well-known, is that (Western) airlines generally used to added a suffix to their names in order to be able to fly to both China and Taiwan.  KLM for example stayed that way to the mainland, but was KLM Asia to the latter.

This will probably be a thread I’ll continually update, once I’m able to find the Delta inflight magazine that showed Kampuchea instead of Cambodia, or the one where Xian, China is listed as the more archaic Chang’an.  Until those encounters happen, take a peek at the oddities, sometimes controversial, sometimes just …odd.  -ities:

The red lines stand for code-share flights, in other words not those actually operated by China Southern (airline code CZ), but a lot happens when you’ve been abroad for about a year.  Minneapolis relocates to Canada, south Florida travels back to 1985 and Maori Island becomes a misnomer.

China Southern (CZ) Nationalism

Juicy stuff here.  The Senkaku Islands(or as China calls them, the D/Tiaoyu Islands) AND the South China archipelago, (not to mention Taiwan- but that’s a been there, done that), are clearly in attendance on this page of the China Southern route map.  Might as well add “Africa” to that map too…

El Al Route Map

El Al (LY), an Israeli/whatever airline, understandably can’t just overfly certain countries.  Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran (would you ever guess???)  Thus, their long-haul routes become that much more long-haul.  Say, when flying from Tel Aviv to Johannesburg, they have stay right over the Red Sea, and to Bangkok, well, ouch.  At least they serve bialys on request, right?

Etihad, AUH-CGK “World Map”

Etihad (EY) of the United Arab Emirates went a bit overboard.  I was flying from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta, but they generously wanted to impress me with their knowledge of world geography.  Because what’s going on in Brasilia is directly going to affect my flight over the Bay of Bengal.  Good thing they don’t have any domestic routes.

China Airlines, TPE-HNL

If you squint well enough, you can see…the ocean.  Taibei-Honolulu, another route I’m not sure why I took.

East/West Seas, a Korean Airline

This one’s got two-in-the-hand!  The West Sea is what the Korean Peninsula terms the Yellow Sea, nothing too offensive.  But the East Sea.  Well, in another never-ending spat with Japan, the Koreas can’t possibly agree with the Sea of Japan, so they just used their/an imagination.  By the way, the Sea of Japan has some delicious Echizen crab…

Have you noticed anything “outstanding” on airline route/inflight maps?

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19 Responses to Airline (Route) Map Oddities: From The Sea of Japan to the East Sea

  1. Gutsy says:

    Maybe Minneapolis Et al are misplaced because the maps are just too small

    • Then they didn’t have to include those cities! Or they could’ve added a legend, but…that’s a horse of an entirely different color. Have any airline maps that you’ve seen stood out for some curious reason?

  2. expatlingo says:

    Staring at maps: a fellow-traveller after my own heart.

    I can’t recall any funny maps, but I did recently spend the better part of a flight to Hangzhou testing my knowledge of both Chinese characters and Chinese geography by staring at the in-flight map and puzzling out “guess the Chinese city.”

    Love the map showing Minneapolis in Canada; close enough, right?

    • On the flight to Hangzhou: did you guess “Panzhihua”and “Handan”correctly? Those are a couple of outliers…also, did you notice the Senkaku (Diaoyu islands) making an appearance too?

      When I get the chance to upload the next map, there’ll be quite the name change for a certain Floridian city…

    • I added a couple of maps you might dig… how was your time in Zhuhai? Unfortunately, I don’t have consistent internet access as I’m traveling, but I’ll get to your new posts soon enough!

      • expatlingo says:

        Love the new CZ map you added that claims all sorts of bits and pieces for The Motherland (and snide comment on Africa: when I was in Angola 8 years ago, wow, was it ever loaded with Chinese and Chinese stuff)! Just like the map on the new Chinese passports that India, Taiwan, Japan, Burma are up in arms over!

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