red carpet

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Tue Dec 11 19:41:03 UTC 2001

Back in the 50s, when cattle cars never flew and airlines competed with
each other and with the railroads by offering courteous service, United
Airlines offered "Red Carpet Service" on its premium transcontinental
first-class flights.  Even though the service included an actual red carpet
rolled out toward the gate from the stairway leading down from the plane (a
new DC-7!!!), I'm not sure whether United's literal carpet was continuing
the literal tradition, or whether it was re-creating it after the
figurative term (or maybe both?).

Peter Mc.

--On Tuesday, December 11, 2001 2:22 PM -0500 "Baker, John"
<JBaker at STRADLEY.COM> wrote:

>   If you are referring to the figurative term meaning a ceremonial
> welcome or lavish reception, it derives from the practice of laying down a
> red carpet on formal occasions to greet important visitors.  I don't know
> how long that's been common, but the OED has a 1905 quotation from the
> Westminster Gazette:  "There were waiting on the red-carpeted platform .
> . . officials representing the railway company."

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at

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