A lot of people asked us about our bag names: Alfa, Bravo, Charly...
We’ve chosen the officially International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, also commonly named ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) phonetic alphabet to name our bags. In the nautical world, the same alphabet is used over the radio. The flags, semaphore signs, and morse code are all related and widely used in the oceans. So when a friend came with that idea we didn’t hesitate.
An early version of the phonetic alphabet appeared in the U.S. Navy’s 1913 edition of The Bluejackets’ Manual. It was paired with the Alphabetical Code Flags defined in the International Code.
The first non-military internationally recognized spelling alphabet was adopted in 1927. The experience gained with that alphabet resulted in several changes being made during 1932.
Later morse Code was added.
In 1952, ICAO decided to revisit the alphabet and its research. To identify the deficiencies of the new alphabet, testing was conducted among speakers from 31 nations.
Words changed in 1957 when the current phonetic alphabet was introduced and adopted by international agreement. Some finetuning was done and a few words were changed.
From 1965 on the alphabet didn’t change.
Did you know:
In the official version of the alphabet, the non-English spellings Alfa and Juliett are used.
- Alfa is spelled with an f as it is in most European languages because the English and French spelling alpha would not be pronounced properly by native speakers of some other languages – who may not know that ph should be pronounced as f.
Juliett is spelled with a tt for French speakers, because they may otherwise treat a single final t as silent. In some English versions of the alphabet, one or both of these may have their standard English spelling.