Solution to Bad Air Day

Back to Puzzle


by Anderson Wang, Jon Schneider

Each of the boarding passes represents a fashion show that was unusual or notable, for a reason explained by the cancellation reason. The main clue towards this is that the set of "From" cities is Paris, New York, London, Milan, and Beijing, which includes the "Big Four" fashion capitals, and the dates match with their corresponding fashion weeks (January-March for autumn/winter shows and September-October for spring/summer shows). We also might directly recognize a particularly notable show like Fendi's Great Wall of China show or Alexander McQueen's hologram. The shows, in boarding pass order, are:

Location Brand (and Youtube link) Season Notes
Paris Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2006 The show ended with a hologram of Kate Moss floating in a pyramid.
Paris Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2020 This show had a flooded runway and a giant screen on the ceiling playing apocalyptic imagery.
New York Calvin Klein Fall/Winter 2018 The whole floor was covered with about 50,000 gallons of popcorn.
Paris Chanel Spring/Summer 2016 This show was set in a fake airport terminal for "Chanel Airlines," hence the "just kidding, everything looks normal."
Beijing Fendi Spring/Summer 2008 This show took place on the Great Wall of China.
Milan Gucci Fall/Winter 2018 This show strangely featured models carrying replicas of their own heads (among other weird things like a chameleon and a "baby dragon").
Paris Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012 This show featured a large carousel that all the models were on at the start.
New York Philipp Plein Fall/Winter 2018 In addition to a giant UFO and a robot, this show also had fake snow falling throughout and a performance by Migos.
New York Pyer Moss Spring/Summer 2020 This show, inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, featured a band and a 65-person choir covering a variety of songs.
Paris Rick Owens Fall/Winter 2012 This show had a backdrop consisting of two bars of fire, as well as all models wearing mesh face masks.
New York Thom Browne Fall/Winter 2012 This show took place in front of 10 coffins, which people rose from at the beginning.
London Topman Fall/Winter 2014 The end of this show saw the catwalk drenched in water.

The brands are in alphabetical order, which helps with identification and suggests that they are the relevant names to index into with the numbers on the planes.

Each of the planes represents the first look in one of the above shows (or one of the first looks in cases where it's slightly ambiguous), where the wings represent arms and the "tail" (technically, the horizontal stabilizers) represents legs. We use the number on the plane to index into the matching brand name:

Plane Brand First look Index Letter
Balenciaga 6 C
Alexander McQueen 1 A
Topman 1 T
Rick Owens 6 W
Chanel 3 A
Philipp Plein 4 L
Calvin Klein 7 K
Fendi 1 F
Thom Browne 3 O
Pyer Moss 4 R
Gucci 2 U
Louis Vuitton 5 S

This spells out CATWALK FOR US. Submitting this phrase prompted teams to send us some of their best looks for a hypothetical puzzle-themed show. Upon doing this, teams received the answer LIZ CLAIBORNE.

Authors’ Notes

In case it wasn't clear, we used the airplane theming entirely for the purpose of making the "runway" pun (which is why we coyly used many synonyms of "runway" throughout the cancellation reasons). Though, I suppose "model" airplanes are also a thing...

At some point during construction, we realized that out of the 19 potential shows we considered using, all 19 of them were for collections in even years! We wondered if there was some unspoken agreement in the fashion world to only do weird/ambitious shows every other year, but as far as we know this isn't actually a thing.

Some other shows we wanted to use but couldn't for various reasons include Rick Owens' spring/summer 2014 menswear collection (featuring a metal band whose drummers constantly rotate upside down throughout the performance), Rick Owens' spring/summer 2014 ready-to-wear (featuring collegiate stepping teams in lieu of models), and Chanel's spring/summer 2012 ready-to-wear (with Florence Welch emerging from a clamshell to perform "What the Water Gave Me").