SpiceJet’s New Streaming Entertainment Is Called WHAT?!

Filed Under: Other Airlines

SpiceJet is an Indian low cost carrier that has recently announced that they’re rolling out streaming inflight entertainment. This means that you can stream movies and TV shows through your device by connecting to their system. It’s a popular option nowadays, given that more and more people are traveling with their own portable devices, since it saves the weight and cost of installing TVs.

However, that’s not the main reason for this post (if you want to learn more about the actual service, check out Live from a Lounge). Rather, I can’t believe what SpiceJet called their inflight entertainment.

I can appreciate that they’d want to get “spice” in the name of this service, but they selected SpicEngage as the name.

Now, I get that “spic” isn’t a slur that’s often thrown around in India, and airlines probably aren’t considering all slurs everywhere in the world when naming things. But with the capitalization and everything, I can’t help but cringe. Oy!

(Tip of the hat to @JakeMHS, featured image courtesy of Sean d’Silva)

  1. You really can’t believe it? Why should a foreign domestic carrier care about racist slurs (frankly too many) within the US? I have never heard “Spic” being used as a racial slug anywhere outside the US. I doubt that SpiceJet knows the slang usage of the word. If they did not know, I commend them for being bold and choosing it. The US is not the center of the world.

  2. Correction to my post: slur (not slug)

    *If they DID know, I commend them for being bold and choosing it. The US is not the center of the world.

  3. No one cares that a carrier based out of INDIA unknowingly incorporated some archaic slang (that honestly no one uses anymore) into their branding. What a useless and insensitive article.

  4. For someone who allegedly travels the world (though rarely out of the safe confines of an American chain hotel) you’re really not very international at all.
    Next I am expecting you to write about the word cum, often used across Singapore and Hong Kong

  5. I agree with the others. Since when an Indian airline has to consider what’s happening in the US or if a word is used as an insult there? Specially since Spicejet is a domestic carrier with no flights to the US

  6. Couldn’t agree more with the above comments. I’ll put this firmly in the clickbait category – an area you’ve been increasingly wading into this year.

  7. I had no clue the word ‘spic’ has racist connotations. Still dont, so i am going to look it up as soon as i finish typing my comment.

  8. @lucky on a roll today !! Hittin em back in the comments ! Don’t be afraid man r apologize for who you are

  9. Lol…America is one of the few countries that IS at the center of the world. Other international airlines NEED American customers. After all, it’s us Americans along with very few foreigners that pay for F. Watch when one person complains about it being racist, it will be changed fast

  10. The name is cringe worthy. And, it’s incredibly awkward – even if you weren’t aware of the anti-hispanic slur that it includes. Simply stated, the marketing department didn’t do very well with this one.

  11. Now i’m abit annoyed after reading this non-story. I read it at Spice Engage but i see that your mind went straight to the gutter.

    The previous post from James about Ryanair was probably meant to be posted last week too as the strikes were on the 10th.

  12. @ CS and Lucky: Funnily enough, the word “cum” is also used widely India for the same purposes in Singapore and Hong Kong.

  13. @Stogieguy7 – how so? Spice Engage converted to SpiceEngage is a pretty common method of branding in marketing (i.e. American Airlines Advantage = AAdvantage). It’s not at all cringe worthy especially since the market is the Indian domestic aviation. Why a domestic airline in Asia would care about what Americans think, baffles.

  14. I was really hoping it was going to be called “SpiceChannel”. Which airline was it that has adult entertainment on their IFE?

  15. The slur “Spic” didn’t even enter my mind when I saw this. I would have called it SpiceWorld 🙂 It could have voice commands instead of a remote or touch screen. “Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want. So, tell me what you want, what you really…”

  16. I agree with CS and most others. SpiceJet ain’t the ignorant one here. Rather it’s the author. For a regional airline that’ll never be targeted at the US market or customers, hispanic or otherwise, how is this even relevant? Even cum is a commonly used word in former British colonies that doesn’t imply ejaculate. There are many languages in this world and many words that’ll either sound like or mean another thing. I thought this blog was actually more relevant than the crap Points Guy has been posting in the last few years. That’s why I switched to follow OMAAT. But even this is going downhill I’m afraid.

  17. I am Indian (not living in India, very well-travelled) and this is the first time I’ve head that word.

    So I am pretty sure that most of SpiceJet’s clientele won’t find this offensive.

    This blog has gone into the weird ‘clickbait’ territory. Miss the classic trip reports of 2014-2015…

  18. I read the article and couldn’t understand what the problem with the name was (actually I thought it quite a clever play on words). I’ve never heard the term ‘spic’. It must be an americanism.

  19. As a “spic” myself, I find this coincidence amusing, but nothing more.

    If someone actually feels offended by this then it’s their own problem, not the airline’s.

    SpiceJet had no bad intentions, is from a different culture where that word is nonexistent, and it’s even quite obvious what they were going for: spice + engage.

  20. Are your commenters all white people who are uncomfortable thinking about race? Of course spic is offensive, no matter what the language is. And of course, we have the obligatory “I’m _____ race and this doesn’t offend me” types. Okay, it’s cool if it doesn’t offend you but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been used as a derogatory term for Latinos hundreds of years. It’s not even supposed to offend you @TheAirlineKid, you’re not the group that was discriminated against. If an airline in China suddenly started calling their IFE GookVision that wouldn’t be so hot either even though gook isn’t a slur for Koreans in Chinese. India is an English speaking country and an airline is inherently an international entity. It’s only part of doing their due dilligence to make sure embarrassments like this don’t happen.

  21. The way the logo was designed, it looks like “Spic Engage” which not only cites an old slur but (probably more importantly) makes no sense. And no, I’m not uncomfortable about race – nor am I overly sensitive. But it says what it says and that word has been used in the past to disparage Latinos. What it doesn’t say is “Spice” because it’s Spic Engage. Which is dumb, slur or no slur.

  22. Pure clickbait. I say that as an Indian (my usernames – VT-CIE and VT-CIO – should give a hint). Instead of commending what a traditional ULCC would never have done (LCCs and IFE have never gone hand-in-hand, save for B6 and flydubai), you dive into the technicalities of the name! Moreover, ‘spic’ is not a common insult any more.

    The only upshot of this is that a relatively unknown Indian airline (that is, vis-à-vis IndiGo) is thrust into the spotlight. But for the wrong reason.

  23. With the current worldwide political climate and airlines being a global business, you’d think they google and see if their new name has any negative connotations. I understand this slur isn’t “a thing” in the Indian market. Who knows, maybe one day Spice Jet will have ambitious expansion plans outside India after Air India finally bites the dust.

  24. Ray…used as a derogatory term for latinos for hundreds of years where?

    I’m a native english speaker (not living in the USA) and have NEVER heard the term.

  25. Agree with above comments – waste of time. As a Canadian never heard the slur spic – the fact you had to link to it pretty much summarizes that you knew this isn’t widely known. Had the programme been called CumEngage I think it would have had international meaning but this is very esoteric…

  26. Hmm racism in a global travel blog makes you think.

    So now if I am of South Indian origin, can I use the “N-word”?
    Similar, if I am a Caucasian in India can I use the “N-word” to an African American in India?

  27. In the USA, this is a well-known racial slur, and seen as extremely derogatory. There are certain “tiers” to derogatory slurs, and at least in the US, this is among the worse ones (especially since xenophobic animosity toward Latinos has reached such a fever point in the US given the political climate and how issues of immigration are discussed). Of course India or an Indian airline may not be conscious of that, and thats ok since it is likely far off their radar.

  28. It is a US-centric website. So, for those of you who think it is too US-centric, you shouldn’t be reading this website then. This site is designed for a US audience. That’s why this is relevant. @eskimo is right. You wouldn’t want a domestic Indian carrier to have Swastika awards now, would you? Being international means that you have to consider your words as broadly as possible. What a bunch of whiners. If you don’t like it, don’t read it anymore. Seriously.

  29. @Willing – actually swastikas are commonly present in India. It is a symbol of divinity in India and many South Asian cultures. So – yes, you may see the Swastika on quite a few things in India, especially during festivals. Therefore, context matters. You are right – this site caters mainly to Americans, who are generally more narrow minded than people from other cultures (as proven by this worthless article).

  30. First of all, to everyone who says it isn’t used, you’re definitely wrong. Hear it at least once a week in New York. Usually when someone says f**kin’ Spic. Not a nice thing to say. However, I never heard it on the West Coast or the Midwest, but I’ve also heard a lot more racial insults living on the East Coast as it seems racism is far more common here than it is in LA or SF. Or maybe I just happen to have selection bias.

    Its also part of doing good branding, you research whether or not your gesture/ad/entertainment system is a rude word in other parts of the world to not end up being a punchline. Its good branding and good global citizenship to just do the MINIMAL effort to check if you’re running the risk of being a meme.

  31. As a blogger, I firmly believe that you should have highlighted the ex-ordinary services that a Low-cost carrier in Asia can provide. One hand, AA has constantly been shrinking down lavatories aboard, trying to fit in more and more seats and decreasing the seat pitch, SpiceJet actually goes far beyond a LCC’s limits to provide IFE services to their customers. Purely innovative, unmatched flexibility and an OOB value proposition must have been this post’s highlights rather than focusing on a regional slang/racial slur.

    One more point, SpiceJet isn’t a domestic airline. They have more than couple of dozens of International flights from multiple Airports from India.

  32. I think Americans as a group are a bunch of morons led by a jerk of a president. Some of them grew some humility and a sense of guilt. They now think the rest of the world should share in that guilt even if the rest of the world had nothing to do with the moronic past of these moronic Americans.

    – not a moron

  33. “You are right – this site caters mainly to Americans, who are generally more narrow minded than people from other cultures (as proven by this worthless article).”

    When the mere discussion of racism (whether intentional or not) causing this level of knee-jerk defensiveness, it really speaks volumes about those making such responsive comments… Not to mention that the assertion above doesn’t make any sense. Americans are “narrow minded” because they are aware that the term “spic” is a derogatory racial slur used in their own nation? Huh?

  34. Why bother arguing about this on an online forum? If you find this offensive, don’t fly SpiceJet. The course of action is really that simple

  35. @Carter – I may not have used such harsh words, but the idea that the entire world must for some reason cater to the sensitivities of the US and their creations is laughable. Clearly, the marketing strategy is to create a merger of Spice and Engage, still probably pronounced as Spice Engage. So – I do get what Jared means when he (or she) says that Americans have a narrow mind. I would not be offended by the use of the term on Spice Jet because clearly it does not mean, nor is used, in the context as in the US.

    It is embarrassing to be an American abroad these days..

  36. “It is embarrassing to be an American abroad these days”

    On the above, I agree with you entirely. Trump has harmed our standing on the international stage to such an extent that I sometimes want to just pretend to be Canadian to not have to deal with the questions of why “I” elected that man…

    As to the rest of your post, I think you are overstating things a bit. No one is saying that an Indian airline should cater to US sensibilities. Its an Indian airline and their customer base likely has no clue about the issue, and thats fine. Its just funny for an American to read that since we do a double-take. And this is a US-based blog, after all meant for a US-based audience.

  37. @Phillip –

    Next to the complete idiocy of this article, your comment comes in as a close second!

    All the indian airlines are aimlessly waiting for American Heroes to swoop in and buy F tickets…..on SpiceJet???

    Please be my guest almighty American….. your first class seat is waiting.

  38. “After all, it’s us Americans along with very few foreigners that pay for F.”

    Any actual statistics to back that up?

    “India is an English speaking country”

    Spoiler alert: their English is more influenced by British English than by American English. Different English speaking countries use different words, and outside of ‘Murica, nobody really uses the word spic. Much like for most English speakers, Sheila is usually just a woman’s name, but is used differently in Australia.

  39. @Phillip – just read your comment after seeing Vijay’s response. Sorry mate, yours is one of the dumbest comments I have read on this blog.

    I rarely find F (and biz) on international flights to be filled with US citizens, especially in Asia, where the number of affluent passengers from Asia are far greater than American travelers. As an American living in Hong Kong, I am aware that people in Asia have a poor perception of Americans, partially due to opinions such as yours. One of these stereotypes is that Americans are stingy – the Walmart and 99 cent burger mentality. I wouldn’t go around touting us being at the center of the world anymore, especially since the other global powers are perfectly fine in isolating us, but we cannot do without them. But hey, whatever allows you to sleep better at night.

  40. It wasn’t a slur as used but in pointing it out @Lucky you have been highlighting the slur. Why? This post should be deleted immediately. It is wildly inappropriate.

  41. What a wildly inappropriate post. Glad to see so many rationally minded folks commenting in agreement.

  42. @ ‘Willing’ – “It is a US-centric website. So, for those of you who think it is too US-centric, you shouldn’t be reading this website then. This site is designed for a US audience. That’s why this is relevant. ”


    Let’s look at the articles on the front page.

    – Article about Air Belgium (european airline that does not serve the US)
    – North Korea suspends tourist Visas
    – Iberia makes Quito emergency landing
    – 4% back on dining with New Capitol One (US centric)
    – Earn 3000 miles when spending £150 at LHR
    – Review of Amanzoe (Greece)
    – Redeem Alaska miles on Finnair (US centric)
    – Spicejets new entertainment system is called WHAT (Indian loco does not serve USA)
    – Ryanair pilots go on strike (european airline does not fly to USA)
    – Blurb about credit cards (US centric)
    – Priority Pass restaurant at BOS (US centric)
    – UA start charging for some seats. (US airline)
    – Turkish currency devaluation
    – Upgrading from Citi Premier to prestige
    – LHR immigration wait times.
    – Swiss Business Class sale from LHR.

    Seems like the website is aimed at a MUCH wider audience than the US. Why would an american centric website post about a sale fare from the UK to the far east or a pilot strike for an airline that doesn’t even touch american soil?

  43. @Duck Ling

    Although he writes about international fare deals and issues that pertain to other countries, its still all written from an American perspective, by an American blogger, for a readership that is largely from America (though of course not entirely). So of course there will be some American perspective on travel-related issues that obviously don’t involve US in any way. And no one ever said this Indian airline is in the wrong or should change. Its just amusing and a bit shocking for any American to see (or any Latin American for that matter).

  44. @Ray

    A little narrow-minded that all things revolve word use in America. Spic is not an international slur. Slurs vary greatly from country/region. Ask for a fag in England and you will get something very different than in the US. And your analogy regarding “Gook” is not a relevant comparison. One should be able to see the harmless intent of the the Indian carrier.

  45. Context matters, you search for spic in India it’s going to point you to Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation, that’s the only spic Indians know of. And Indian english is British centric, also I’m pretty sure more than half the country(India) does not know that the N word is offensive.

  46. I’d be embarrassed to have posted this.

    Confected drama showing an inability to see other perspectives.

  47. Idiotic responses suggesting that foreign carriers should be familiar with racially abusive terms invented and used only by Americans. No one knows or uses this word and most people outside the US never heard of it. In English it means a tiny particle, maybe of dust or other matter, sometimes used metaphorically as in the Bee Gees song, Spicks and Specks ( and there is a tv program with the same title). But on iTunes the title is listed as S***** and Specks, reflecting not only arrogance but also ignorance of the common, original usage.
    Just another example of myopic Americans, as is this fuss about Spice.

  48. @Ankit Absolutely true. Among LCCs, only JetBlue and flydubai have ever offered in-seat IFE on shorthaul flights (VX was not an LCC), and Norwegian offers streaming. SpiceJet has done what no LCC would even dream of doing. It is becoming the Norwegian of India, as far as service is concerned.

    @Duck Ling: We have a UK- , Australia- and Europe-centric blogger right here at OMAAT. James.

  49. @Duck Ling

    You are thinking too shallow here. The US-centric readers who are applying for Chase, Citi, and Amex are paying for this site. US based people with miles&points fund this site. You cut USA out of this and @Lucky would be reviewing Spirit to Florida and Condor to see his relatives on his vacation while working a full time desk job somewhere. So YES this is a US-centric site geared towards US credit card.

    Now this post isn’t involved with the “N-word” but still racism. So what happen to all the POC trying to blow this issue up. Racism in South Asia doesn’t concern you anymore???
    Equality??, start by defending the nice people south of the border from South Asians.

  50. It’s only relevant because you chose to make it so, Lucky. Really stupid post imho. You are like a 12 year old giggling in front of a Kum and Go gas station and running home to tell your mother. I say “giggle’ as it seems you think it’s more electric and funny than actually poignant as being racist. Which it is clearly not. It’s an Indian airline for god’s sake. It’s one thing to have a good hearted laugh at “lost in translation.” It’s another to lead on that it involves racism….which you did by “cringing.”

  51. @Michael – I thought it was going to say SpiceChannel as well! lol.

    Soooo this post got us all commenting making the site more money ;-).

    I’m not offended by this post surprisingly :-). I have heard of the slur, its ancient and no one uses it anymore. I think some older Italian Americans flying on Spicejet might raise an eyebrow or two lol, which of course happens since we all have to take domestic services to get around India.

    Anyway, cringe worthy, umm no. If the article was written as “interesting” and a “historical side note”…probably would have gone down better since there are a ton of odd historical bits and bobs that make for great article. Can make for a great article.

    Many are boo booing online this week as Mercury Retrograde closes out! 😉

  52. For a guy who’s travelled so extensively you are shockingly simpleminded Lucky. The world isn’t the US & Americans don’t hold a monopoly on what’s proper & what’s improper.
    Please don’t judge superficially, it’s vulgar.

  53. Never heard of this ‘slur’ , and so wouldn’t have many others here in India. And as is quite obvious , this was done unknowingly.
    Surprised that the author ‘cringes’ at this , but has time & again been insensitive ( unintentionally perhaps ) about other cultures. For example , on his last trip to Nepal , he was amused by the way Hindus conduct funerals , which looked like some sort of “celebration” to him.
    P.s.-I wish the author ( and the readers as well ) took some time out to come & explore India sometime , to bust their misconceptions , and not just make it as a transit point for airline reviewes once in a blue moon

  54. I get it that this is a very North America minded blog, but is there anyone else thinking about that Nokia N-gage phone when they saw the name at first?

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