If you’ve ever taken a flight, domestic or international, I’m sure you’ve experienced some form of confusion by the jargon either spoken over the microphone or face-to-face by airline workers. Travelers who make dozens of flights a year can find themselves having only a vague understanding of this airline language. Patrick Smith wrote the book about everything you need to know when it comes to air travel, Cockpit Confidential. Here are a few terms he describes.
An air pocket is a colloquial term for a jolt of turbulence.
When a pilot comes over the intercom announcing “…all-call,” they are looking for all the flight attendants to report from his or her stations as part of the arming/disarming procedure.
Also known as the “ramp,” this is the passageway or taxiway between terminals.
This references where the planes park for servicing or any large space of Tarmac (asphalt) that is not being used as an alley or runway.
AREA OF WEATHER
Area of weather is a less alarming way for the pilot to announce a detour due to a thunderstorm or heavy precipitation ahead.
AT THIS TIME
“At this time,” is the well-known airline euphemism meaning “right now.”
If a pilot or flight attendant is assigned to fly from New York City to Dallas, Texas, but is presently in Los Angeles, they will be deadheaded from LA to NYC to work the flight to Dallas.
Deplane is simply another way to say that you are disembarking from an aircraft.
What makes a flight direct is the flight number does not change. Contrary to popular belief, the flight may make a few stops along the way. This term has been carried over from the days when major flights made routinely intermediate stops.
DOORS TO ARRIVAL AND CROSSCHECK
When the lead flight attendant comes over the intercom to say “doors to arrival and crosscheck,” they are alerting the other flight attendants to prepare the plane for disembarking. This announcement intends to verify the flight attendants have disarmed the emergency escape slides before opening the doors to exit the aircraft. Flight attendants will crosscheck each other’s stations to ensure the doors have been armed or disarmed properly.
FINAL AND IMMEDIATE BOARDING CALL
“Final and immediate boarding call” is the extravagant way for airline workers to tell slow-moving passengers to hurry up and board their flight.