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Bravo-Lima-Six-Mike-Nine-Alpha, you hear your travel executive intone. What does this mean? They are phonetically spelling your (six letter) booking reference or (single letter) booking class.

A- Alpha
B- Bravo (in SL: Bertie)
C- Charlie
D- Delta
E- Echo
F- Foxtrot (in SL: Freddy)
G- Golf
H- Hotel
I- India
J- Juliet
K- Kilo
L- Lima
M- Mike
N- November (in SL: Nellie)
O- Oscar (in SL: Oliver)
P- Papa (in SL: Peter)
Q- Quebec (in SL: Queen)
R- Romeo
S- Sierra
T- Tango
U- Uniform
V- Victor
W- Whiskey
X- X-ray
Y- Yankee
Z- Zulu

This method of phonetic spelling was first introduced in the US Navy's The Bluejacket Manual in 1913. Today's version, the fourth official version, dates from 1957. It is now known as the NATO phonetic alphabet.

The Sri Lankan altneratives have been perennially used by local travel agents who are unfamiliar with names and words like "Oscar" and "Foxtrot".

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Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.
Tel: (+94 11) 2326181