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The airline industry, like any other, has a specialized dictionary. These are words and phrases that are used commonly by airline employees for which the meanings may not be obvious to outsiders.
At great personal risk on an undercover sting operation, I was able to procure this dictionary. Now I present it to you with no thought to my personal safety in the interest of academic freedom.
Remember folks, "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going!"
- Air Traffic Control - A game played by airline pilots and air traffic controllers. The game has no rules, and neither side knows how it is played, but the goal is to prevent flights from arriving in time for passengers to make connecting flights.
- Baggage Claim - The most difficult area of the airport to find. It is usually hidden by numerous signs saying, "Baggage Claim Area."
- Carry On Bag - An item, usually of large dimensions, which somehow managed to fit under the passenger's seat on the inbound flight. Regardless of what the passenger says the following is not acceptable as carry-on items: bicycles, refrigerators, truck tires, or wide screen projection TVs.
- Flight Schedule - An entertaining work of paperback fiction.
- Fog - A natural weather phenomenon, which usually occurs around an airport while the surrounding areas are clear. Fog is controlled by the airlines and is used to delay flights.
- Non-Revenue Position - Usually can be identified by the fact that these passengers are in first class and are dressed in pilot or flight attendant uniforms. Non-revenue position are permitted to fly first class free of charge to prevent revenue passengers from being able to pay first class passenger charges.
- No-Record - Any passenger booked through a travel agency.
- On Time - An obscure term, meaning unknown.
- Passenger - A herding creature of widely varying intellect usually found in pairs or small groups. Often will become vicious and violent in simple and easily rectified situations. When frightened or confused these creatures collect into a group called a "line." This "line" has no set pattern and is usually formed in inconvenient places. Passengers are of four known species: Paxus iratus, Paxus latus, Paxus inebriatus, & Paxus ignoramus.
- Position Closed - This is a sign posted at various counter locations, which when interpreted by the passenger says, "Form line here."
- Pre-Board - Passenger who arrives at the gate five minutes before departure.
- Sign - An airport decoration. Usually unnoticed except by small children. Its primary function is to hide the location of various areas of the airport, i.e., gate numbers, rest rooms, baggage claim, etc.
- Ticket Agent
A superhuman with the patience of a saint, the herding ability of an Australian sheepdog, the E.S.P. abilities of Uri Geller, the compassion of a psychoanalysts, and the tact of a diplomat. They have mysterious abilities to control wind/rain/snow/fog and all other weather phenomenon. They are capable of answering three questions at one time, while talking on the phone, and without stuttering or choking on their tongue. Later in life they sit in parks carrying on mysterious conversations with themselves.
- Voluntary Oversell - A passenger who arrives at the gate as the jetway is coming off the flight.
Signs You Chose a No Frills Airline
- They don't sell tickets, they sell chances.
- All the insurance machines in the terminal are sold out.
- Before the flight, the passengers get together and elect a pilot.
- You can't board the plane unless you have the exact change.
- Before you take off, the stewardess tells you to fasten your Velcro.
- The Captain asks all the passengers to chip in a little for gas.
- When they pull the steps away, the plane starts rocking.
- The Captain yells at the ground crew to get the cows off the runway.
- You ask the Captain how often their planes crash and he says, "Just once."
- No movie. Don't need one. Your life keeps flashing before your eyes.
- You see a man with a gun, but he's demanding to be let off the plane.
- All the planes have both a bathroom and a chapel.
Here are a few of the lessons you'll learn when taking Aviation 101:
- It's best to keep the pointed end going forward as much as possible.
- Takeoff's are optional. Landings are mandatory.
- Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous.
- If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger, if you pull the stick back they get smaller. (Unless you keep pulling the stick back -then they get bigger again)
- The propeller is just a big fan in the front of the plane to keep the pilot cool. Want proof? Make it stop; then watch the pilot break out into a sweat.
- The probability of survival is equal to the angle of arrival.
- The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
- Every one already knows the definition of a 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. But very few know the definition of a 'great landing.' It's one after which you can use the airplane another time.
- You know you've landed with the wheels up when it takes full power to taxi.
- Keep looking around; there's always something you've missed.
- Try to keep the number of your landings equal to the number of your takeoffs.
- Gravity never loses! The best you can hope for is a draw!
- Any pilot who relies on a terminal forecast can be sold the Brooklyn Bridge. If he relies on winds-aloft reports he can be sold Niagara Falls.
- Always remember you fly an airplane with your head, not your hands. Never let an airplane take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.
- Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
- And Always Remember, you're always a student in an airplane.
The Flight Instructor
A photographer for a national magazine was assigned to take pictures of a great forest fire. He was advised that a small plane would be waiting to fly him over the fire. The photographer arrived at the airstrip just an hour before sundown. Sure enough, a small Cessna airplane was waiting. He jumped in with his equipment and shouted, "Let's go!"
The tense man sitting in the pilot's seat swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air, though flying erratically. "Fly over the north side of the fire," said the photographer, "and make several low-level passes."
"Why?" asked the nervous pilot.
"Because I'm going to take pictures!" yelled the photographer. "I'm a photographer, and photographers take pictures." The pilot replied, "You mean you're not the flight instructor?"
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Last Updated April 1, 2013
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