This is an excellent question. The fact that she is female, and a Princess, Fifi could be nothing more than the diminutive name of Fiona, Josephine, or Sophia… a woman who knows what she’s doing…is strong, assertive, and flying full speed ahead.
But I think the answer could be a bit more complex than that.
Could she be named after Fifi Le Fume? Fifi, a French skunk, flirtatious and stinky just like her mentor Pepe Le Pew, is skunk with passion. Her most notorious trait… she refuses to take “no” for an answer when love is involved. Some may think that the Airbus stinks, but then there are those that she’s captured their hearts. Could it be?
Fifi Le Fume
And then my mind wanders to Fifi the Duck. If it quacks like a duck, and flies like a duck… it must be a duck! Fifi the duck was “compassionate, curvaceous, and courageous." She was also a talented duck. Not only did she serve people well, but she piloted a Flying Bonger. The A330 is definitely talented, and serves her markets well. Curvaceous and courageous the A330 also might be…but compassionate? I doubt that.
Fifi The Duck
There was also Fifi, the beauty queen. Alias Ingrid Finger, who won the Miss International pageant in 1965. While the Airbus is a beauty, her winglets are not nearly as sexy as the 737-800. Could she win on performance alone?
1974, Hurricane Fifi, killed 8000-10,000 people, and ranked the 4th deadliest. Could Fifi be thought of as deadly? If you don’t know how to manage her, I suspect that could be.
And then there was her predecessor…
Did you know that Fifi wasn’t the first plane to be nicknamed Fifi?
The B-29 Superfortress took the nickname Fifi first. The B-29 was the largest aircraft in WWII and very advanced for her time, with an electronic fire-control system, a pressurized cabin, and she even had remote-controlled gun turrets. The airbus was very advanced for her time… could it be that a mechanic who knew the B-29 saw the advanced technology in the Airbus, and nicknamed her after the Superfortress?
I think the answer lies in her original performance. She was a dog. The mechanics nicknamed the A320 Fifi, after a French Dog. The first buses may have been dogs. However, the A330, Princess Fifi, is anything but. She is a Princess.
On a side note, did you know that Minnie Mouse’s dog was named Fifi? Fifi the Peke, who was also Pluto’s girlfriend. And if you must know, Fifi and Pluto actually had five puppies together. So are those puppies considered little buses?
Fifi the Peke
If anyone has a better answer as to how “Fifi” got her name, inquiring minds want to know.
Thanks for a great question Julia!
Enjoy the Journey!