An airline pilot reveals the meanings of 24 code words passengers don’t understand

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Summary List Placement
Patrick Smith is an author, aviation blogger, and commercial airline pilot.
He compiled a list of commonly misunderstood airline terms for his site, AskThePilot.
We’ve selected 24 of the most common, words you may have heard during a recent flight without knowing exactly what the pilot meant. Read on to find out.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

For most of us, flying is still an inherently mysterious activity.

To shed some light on the world of commercial air travel, Business Insider turned to Patrick Smith for some answers. Smith is not only an author and aviation blogger, but he is also a long-time commercial airline pilot flying Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 jets.

Smith, who wrote “Cockpit Confidential,” compiled a glossary of commonly misunderstood airline jargon on his website, AskThePilot.

According to Smith, some of the terms are highly technological while others are quite humorous and even a bit absurd. Here’s a selection of entries:

This article was originally published by Benjamin Zhang in April 2017. It was updated by David Slotnick in March 2020.

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“Doors to arrival and crosscheck.”

Used in a sample sentence: “Flight attendants, doors to arrival and crosscheck.”

Definition: The announcement, usually made by the lead flight attendant as the plane is approaching the gate, is to verify that the emergency escape slides attached to each door have been disarmed — otherwise the slide will deploy automatically as soon as the door is opened. 

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Used in a sample sentence: “Flight attendants, doors to arrival, crosscheck and all-call.”

Definition: According to Smith, all-call is usually part of the door arming/disarming procedure. “This is a request that each flight attendant report via intercom from his or her station — a sort of flight attendant conference call,” he wrote.

“Holding pattern.”

Definition: “A racetrack-shaped course flown during weather or traffic delays,” Smith wrote. “Published holding patterns are depicted on aeronautical charts, but one can be improvised almost anywhere.”

“At this time.”

Used in a sample sentence: “At this time, we ask that you please put away all electronic devices.”

Definition: Now.  Smith calls this phrase “air travel’s signature euphemism.”

“Flight level.”

Used in a sample sentence: “We’ve now reached our cruising altitude of flight level three-three-zero. I’ll go ahead and turn off the seatbelt sign.”

Definition: “There’s a technical definition of flight level, but I’m not going to bore you with it,” Smith wrote.

According to the long-time airline pilot, flight level is simply a fancy way of saying how many thousands of feet the plane is above sea level.

“Just add a couple of zeroes. Flight level three-three zero is 33,000 feet,” he explained.


Used in a sample sentence: “We would now like to pre-board those passengers requiring special assistance.”

Definition: The term “pre-board” suggests something before boarding. According to Smith, it actually just means boarding. Boarding first, at least.

“Last minute paperwork.”

Used in a sample sentence: “We’re just …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Life


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