Air Travel Glossary: Airline Jargon Explained

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Have you ever heard a flight attendant say “There are a lot of crumb crunchers in this flight”? That means kids. Pilots and crew have developed their own language to feel freer to talk about the passengers and the flight without offending them or scaring them.

Below are a few words and their definitions that they might use during a flight:

Blue juice: The water in the lavatory toilet. “There’s no blue juice in the lav.”

Crotch watch: The required check to make sure all passengers have their seat belts fastened. Also: “groin scan.”

Crumb crunchers: Kids. “We’ve got a lot of crumb crunchers on this flight.”

Deadheading: When an airline employee flies as a passenger for company business.

Gate lice: The people who gather around the gate right before boarding so they can be first on the plane. “Oh, the gate lice are thick today.”

George: Autopilot. “I’ll let George take over.”

airplane window view

Landing lips: Female passengers put on their “landing lips” when they use their lipstick just before landing.

Pax: Passengers.

Spinners: Passengers who get on late and don’t have a seat assignment, so they spin around looking for a seat.

Two-for-once special: The plane touches down on landing, bounces up, then touches down again.

Working the village: Working in coach.

Commuter: A crew member who lives in one city but takes a plane to their base city to get to work. These are tired crew members.

Concourse Shoes: High-heeled pumps flight attendants wear to walk though the airport, changed out for comfortable (usually ugly) flats once in the air. Would you believe there is a market for used flight attendant shoes on eBay? 

Crashpad: Commuters sometimes share an apartment with 20 or more other commuters so they don’t have to pay for a hotel room between trips.

airplane window view

All-Call: “Flight attendants, doors to arrival, crosscheck and all-call.” Often part of the 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.

Flight Level: “We’ve now reached our cruising altitude of flight level three-three-zero. I’ll go ahead and turn off the seat belt sign…”  Basically this is a fancy way of telling you how many thousands of feet you are above sea level. Just add a couple of zeroes. Flight level three-three zero is 33,000 feet.

Air Pocket: A downward air current that causes an aircraft to lose altitude abruptly causing a jolt of turbulence.

Yahoo! Travel
Ask The Pilot
Reader’s Digest

Next time you fly surprise your flight attendant by using one these words in a sentence, something like “so you are working the village today?”

3 thoughts on “Air Travel Glossary: Airline Jargon Explained

  1. Interesting read – we love reading linguistic type of stuff 🙂 Thanks for compiling one for us!


  2. This little insight is so cool!


  3. thanks for sharing this info! it broadens one’s horizon on travelling!


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