Why I memorized the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

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I memorized the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

The NATO phonetic alphabet is a standardized set of words used to identify letters by radio or telephone.  If you aren’t aware of the phonetic alphabet, I can almost guarantee you’ve heard it in a movie. Every time there is a military scene you’ll hear them use the NATO phonetic alphabet, although technically Juliette is the NATO recognized word for J, not Joker – but I always use Joker 😉 Miles is a cheeky monkey afterall.

Other than Miles being eternally amused at me learning words for letters, this is why I memorized the Phonetic Alphabet:

The service is better. And that’s not Bravo. Sierra.

I could be wrong… But when I rattle off my record locator, “Quebec, November, 2, Alpha, 7 , Whiskey,”  I immediately hear keys clicking and it makes me happy. Usually that’s a good thing…but clearly Focker didn’t use the phonetic alphabet because these clicking keys were not happy.

Back on point…I feel like they are giving me better service, or at least they’re talking to me like I’m knowledgeable, and I like that. Customer service is tough on both sides so I feel like I’m doing my part to make things as clear as possible and they respect that.

Foxtrot. Yankee. India.



Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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  • Carl June 8, 2023

    Since when does W come before V? That’s how the above chart shows it!

  • Bruce Wilson April 18, 2020

    “M” as in Mancy

  • Jake from MSP April 17, 2020

    Life Hack: I got paid to learn it when I enlisted!

  • Glenn (The Military Frequent Flyer) April 17, 2020

    The interesting thing about Q is that if you pronounce Quebec (K-bec) correctly, there is no “Q” sound.

    • Carl June 8, 2023

      Q is pronounced in most cases as /kw/. That is what the letter Q sounds like!

    • UK June 8, 2023

      The “q” sounds like that to plenty of French people.

  • Tom April 17, 2020

    I called UA in August, needing to change a PNR that had a D in it. When I said, “Delta”, the agent said, “You’ll have to pick another word…’duck’ maybe.” I laughed.

  • Chris April 17, 2020

    The Philadelphia Inquirer once inadvertently claimed that a plane was sitting on “a taxiway hotel” because the author didn’t understand that it was Taxiway H.

    Then again, the Inquirer also didn’t understand that Qatar and the UAE aren’t the same country. Oh, Philadelphia, what a bunch of idiots.

  • Guest December 8, 2016

    Just and FYI, J is actually Juliet, not Joker.

    • Miles December 8, 2016

      Guest – you’re right, I mentioned that in the opening paragraph but maybe I should make it clearer in the chart

  • Jake P December 8, 2016

    Wait a second… isn’t J-Juliette? I’ve been deceived my whole life!

    • Miles December 8, 2016

      Hey Jake – it is Juliette. You probably missed where I mentioned in the intro that I like to use Joker instead 😉 a bit a mischief on my part

  • Dan @ Points With a Crew December 8, 2016

    LOL – I know most of them and try to use them but then I get ones that I don’t know and I’m like … uh…. Popcorn?

  • Phoenix December 8, 2016

    Mamma mia monkey! The phonetic alphabet is not what you memorized – rather the NATO alphabet or radiophonic alphabet – very little phonetic about it, since there is no transcription of sound (see international phonetic alphabet). It’s purpose is to clarify sounds rather than transcribe them.

    • Miles December 8, 2016

      Phoenix – good to know!

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