What is an FO?

Old Apr 6, 03, 8:33 am
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The following quote contains a link to the content — shown below — explaining what “FO” means from Delta Air Lines:
Originally Posted by kicker View Post
In its heyday, the invitation-only Flying Colonel was one of air transportation’s coveted citations.

The first ”Flying Colonels of the Delta Fleet” were frequent flyers, supporters of Delta and the air transport industry in 1953, but the program has an earlier history. Delta inherited the Flying Colonels in our merger with Chicago and Southern (C&S) Air Lines in 1953. The program was the brain child of George E. Bounds in 1940, then C&S Director-Public Relations and Advertising, who wanted a way to recognize those contributing to the airlines’ success and to build good public relations.

Fun facts:
  • The first woman named a Flying Colonel (a rarity until 1984) was Betty Jeanne Claffey, aviation editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper in 1944.
  • The youngest Flying Colonel is believed to be six-year-old Tommy Alexander in 1946. Tommy rode C&S home after an operation for a life-threatening ruptured appendix.
  • Flying Colonel pocket identification cards were introduced in 1952.
  • At one time, Flying Colonels had lifetime membership to Delta’s Crown Room Clubs (airport lounges opened in the late 1950s).
  • A McCall’s magazine columnist visting the French country home of the Duke of Windsor in 1973, noted: “The walls are lined with mementos from the past—everything from a gigantic map documenting his travels as the Prince of Wales to a certificate making the Duke a ‘Flying Colonel’ for Delta Air Lines . . .”
  • We awarded Flying Colonel memberships until January 1, 1998.

Flying Orchid Program

In the tradition of the Flying Colonels, we also designed a separate program to recognize women for their support of the Delta and air transportation industry in 1960. The orchid had been an important internal symbol at both C&S and Delta, so “Flying Orchid” seemed a natural choice for the program’s name. C.E. Woolman, Delta’s principal founder and first CEO, grew orchids as a hobby, and often presented them to Delta employees to mark significant accomplishments, such as flight attendant graduations. C&S also recognized employees’ extra efforts on behalf of the customer or the company in “An Orchid for You” articles in the company magazine.

In 1984, we modified our recognition programs so that women were now designated as “Flying Colonels,” just as men were. The Orchid program was then used to recognize administrative assistants and planners who made travel arrangements.
Click on the link above to read the comments from readers.

Last edited by Canarsie; Oct 18, 11 at 12:29 am Reason: This was originally posted on October 18, 2011 but placed at the beginning of this thread for easy access.
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Old May 3, 04, 9:10 pm
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What is an FO?

I can't search for a two-letter string.

Thanks.
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Old May 3, 04, 9:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Mikey likes it
I can't search for a two-letter string.

Thanks.
It means silver medallion, Im not sure what exactly stands for literally, but I think they did not want to do SM because it would be confused for SkyMiles.
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Old May 3, 04, 9:21 pm
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It usually stands for Silver, but....

Once upon a time, Delta rewarded admin assistants/secretaries with Flying Orchid. An honorary title with some flying benefits, though these people rarely flew.

Along the same lines as Flying Colonel which gave you some benefits including Lifetime Crown Room Club membership. They have since forgotten that part which has been discussed many times. And to be honest, it was another STUPID blunder on Delta's part to provide such a lifetime benefit.

Someday, they will change the air filters on Virginia Avenue.
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Old May 3, 04, 9:42 pm
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Originally Posted by NoStressHere
Once upon a time, Delta rewarded admin assistants/secretaries with Flying Orchid. An honorary title with some flying benefits, though these people rarely flew.
I believe this is a myth (as far as the origin of FO is concerned), and that the term FO (the internal DL code for Silver Medallion) was originally an acronym for "Flies Often".

Last edited by vasantn; May 3, 04 at 9:46 pm Reason: Clarification
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Old May 3, 04, 9:58 pm
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There was indeed a Flying Orchid program for travel arrangers, but it had nothing to do with the designator "FO". FO does indeed stand for "Flys Often" and was the designator for the original Medallion member (back before there were multiple Medallion levels). To this date, it remains the designator for Silver Medallion. The original qualification requirements for Medallion level were much the same as they are today for Silver Medallion.

Funny how an airline really used to value people who flew 25,000 miles a year on the carrier (and at that time there were no MQMs and each flight earned a minimum of 1000 miles), which was the qualification requirement for Medallion level. Now, fly 25,000 miles and you mean very little to the carrier.
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Old May 3, 04, 10:13 pm
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And it really added up quickly

Robert Leach's post reminds me of the early 80's when I worked for a company that insisted that its execs flly FC, and at that time DL was giving 2000 miles per FC leg (does anybody else remember those pink boarding passes?).
One typical four leg business trip thru the south would get you 8000 miles, altho I do not recall any special status from those early days of the Frequent Flyer program, such as Eastern's ET (Executive Traveler) designation.
The first that I recall seeing any notice of Medallion status was about in '85, after I had stopped using DL, a stop that lasted about 20 years.
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Old May 3, 04, 10:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Robert Leach
Now, fly 25,000 miles and you mean very little to the carrier.
Unfortunately, 100,000 miles a year doesn't get you a whole lot more respect...at least on DL lately. We can only hope this will soon change.
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Old May 3, 04, 10:34 pm
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Pink boarding passes

Originally Posted by monitor
(does anybody else remember those pink boarding passes?).
Although I was working for Pan Am back then, I used to take Delta frequently to visit my FFB (former Floridian boyfriend) and was the recipient of many of these.
Does anybody else remember that when you got one of them
1. You did NOT get a drink on the ground and
2. You were limited to 2 drinks?
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Old May 3, 04, 10:51 pm
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I remember those days....

You weren't served drinks on the ground in those states that had "Blue Laws",

and when you were served drinks in the air, it was 2drinks at a time with the miniatures.
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Old May 3, 04, 11:04 pm
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Threads such as these always make me feel young. Thanks to all!
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Old May 4, 04, 10:12 am
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by vasantn
I believe this is a myth (as far as the origin of FO is concerned), and that the term FO (the internal DL code for Silver Medallion) was originally an acronym for "Flies Often".
Thanks to Mikey likes it for asking a question that's been in the back of my mind for a while. And thanks to vasantn for the answer. My guesses were way off. I assumed it referred to the low level Medallion benefits such as First On (the aircraft) or Firstclass Occasionally.
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Old May 4, 04, 10:27 am
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FO = First Officer?

I wrote this before and got slammed for it, but I'm going to say it again because I believe communication is important.

Please do not use codes that are not industry standard! It's just too confusing to use archaic or secret codes. There is nothing wrong with spelling out Silver or Medallion or (horror of horrors) the concatenation of the two -- Silver Medallion.

For example, how much sense do the following make?

1) Flying AT is so much better than DL. They don't have that horrible MQM system.

2) Unlike DL, SW does not charge a change fee. Too bad SW doesn't fly to ATL.

3) We have a flight from CIN to DAL on Delta, and then from DAL to LUB on AE. For the connecting flight, what terminal does her and me go to?

Last edited by JS; May 4, 04 at 10:35 am Reason: clarity
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Old May 4, 04, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by JS
For example, how much sense do the following make?

1) Flying AT is so much better than DL. They don't have that horrible MQM system.

2) Unlike DL, SW does not charge a change fee. Too bad SW doesn't fly to ATL.

3) We have a flight from CIN to DAL on Delta, and then from DAL to LUB on AE. For the connecting flight, what terminal does her and me go to?
Except for the grammar () all 3 makes perfect sense to me! And by the way, the answer to #3 is the North terminal!!
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Old May 4, 04, 11:09 am
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Originally Posted by JS

3) We have a flight from CIN to DAL on Delta, and then from DAL to LUB on AE. For the connecting flight, what terminal does her and me go to?
I didn't know there was scheduled service from Carroll, Iowa to anywhere, much less Love Field...
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