The word airline should not be confused with the term “air line,” which is the next entry in this project.
An airline is a company that provides a unique service to people who are unbearably happy. In return for customers giving the airline a large portion of their paychecks, the airline treats customers like dirt so they will better appreciate the joy that is the rest of their lives.
For a few lucky customers, in addition to treating them like something less than cattle, airlines lose with the luggage that those fortunate customers entrusted with the airlines. When this happens, the rest of the customers’ lives look particularly rosy in comparison. Who could ask for anything more?
To add a veil of sanity to this service, airlines also promise to transport customers to a destination by airplane in return for the fees paid. The fulfillment of this promise may be cancelled or delayed on account of bad weather or technical difficulties.
The promise to transport passengers may also be cancelled if so few people buy this service on a particular flight that running the flight would no longer be profitable for the airline. Rather than admitting that they are not going to fulfill their promise merely because they are incompetent at selling their service, airlines usually come up with another excuse for the cancellation.
As can be seen, airlines consider the word “promise” to be somewhat flexible.
Some countries have a “flagship” airline that is owned by the government. This is because their citizens don’t have enough things to be upset with their government about.