There are lots of reasons why people fly to Las Vegas: they might be headed to a casino, or a Golden Knights hockey game, or one of those U2 shows in the weird trippy LED light arena, or maybe to get married by an Elvis impersonator.

Or they might be flying to catch another flight on one of the most out-of-sight airlines in the world: it’s known only as Janet.

This airline is back in the news because the US Air Force is looking for a contractor to operate Janet.

Beyond that, though, there isn’t a whole lot we know for sure about the service.

Most of the important details are classified.

When the military put out its call for contractors, it said only that “The government has a requirement for safe, secure and reliable air transportation between various points within the continental United States.”

Aviation Week says the Air Force narrowed those “various points” down to four locations over about a 300 mile radius, operating seven days a week and carrying close to half a million passengers a year.

All of those details seem to support the idea that Janet is an acronym that stands for “Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation.”

The joke in aviation circles is that the actual acronym means “Just Another Non-Existent Terminal.”

But even a secret airline can’t be 100 percent secret.

The planes still fly in regular airspace; you can spot them because they’re white with almost no markings, aside from a big red stripe along the side.

The name “Janet” comes from the radio call sign pilots have used on some of these flights.

And from what we can tell, they’re flying to very sensitive US facilities that you can’t get to on a commercial flight.

In fact, it’s believed one of the regular stops for Janet flights is Area 51, the spot that’s likely home to super-secret military aircraft and the one that’s at the center of so many rumors about aliens who crash landed on Earth.

But if you’re thinking, I need to get myself on a Janet flight, um, think again.

Even the attendants on these flights have to qualify for security clearance, so you’re not gonna just find an extra seat and hitch a ride.

If humans are going to venture far out into space – like maybe to Mars – space agencies will want to make sure they don’t get too lonely.

Jihee Kim has just come up with one possible solution: a robotic dog that can be an interactive space pet.

Kim named the robot after the first living dog in space, Laika.

U.S. Air Force Looking For New ‘Janet’ Operator (Aviation Week)

U.S. government airline Janet hides in plain site (

life-like, AI robot dog ‘laika’ offers physical and emotional support for space travelers (designboom)

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Photo by Eddie Maloney via Wikicommons/Creative Commons