Aviation

Revealed: The secret language of cabin crew

Let’s be honest, we all want to be in with the lingo of airline staff.

If you’ve spent any time flying, you will have noticed the strange, fragmented language cabin crew use to communicate to each other.

So why all the secrets? Unsurprisingly, it’s to keep us calm in an emergency situation.

We’re an easily panicked lot.

Flight attendant and author of the Crewed Talk column on Flyertalk.com Amanda Pleva says: “Codes are used by crew in order to maintain calm and order in the cabin.

“We’re specially trained in emergency situations, and panic can cause us to lose control of a situation and end up in injury or death.”

Somewhat confusing, very much code-like, we’d be lying if we said we hadn’t tried to decipher what they’re saying at least once.

Well a few times actually, to no avail.

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Luckily for us, The Sun UK has written a glossary of the terms, we only ask you don’t shout any of them mid-flight in an attempt to feel included.

Code Adam

This is used by airport staff to alert other staff of a missing child, in honour of Adam Walsh, a child who was abducted in a department store in 1981.

7500

If a pilot “squawks 7500” it means the plane has been hijacked, or has a hijacking is a threat

Last minute paperwork

You’re in for a delay.

According to Patrick Smith, this “paperwork” is usually a revision of the flight plan, something to do with the plane’s weight-and-balance record, or simply waiting for the maintenance staff to get the flight’s logbook in order.

Cropdusting

This a rude one, used by cabin crew. “Cropdusting is a disgusting, albeit very common, method of retribution,” says Pleva.

“If a passenger is being very rude and difficult, then it’s not unheard of for a flight attendant to break wind and ‘cropdust’ past the offender.”

“Childish? Yes. Satisfying? Also yes.”

Crosscheck

If you hear this phrase, usually made by senior cabin crew, it means that the emergency slides attached to each door have been deactivated.

Otherwise the slide will deploy automatically as soon as the door is opened.

All-call

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,” Patrick explains on his website.

Ground stop

This is when departures to one or more destinations are curtailed by air traffic control; usually due to a traffic backlog.

Equipment

Definition: The plane. Smith says: “Is there not something strange about the refusal to call the focal object of the entire industry by its real name?”

Flight deck

Pilot speak for the cockpit.

Air pocket

Pilot-speak for turbulence.

Deadhead

“A deadheading pilot or flight attendant is one repositioning as part of an on-duty assignment.

“This is not the same as commuting to work or engaging in personal travel,” says Patrick.

Doors to arrival

An instruction often heard issued to the flight attendants as the plane is landing.

“The intent is to verify disarming of the emergency escape slides attached to the doors to prevent them from deploying at the gate,” explained Patrick.

“When armed, a slide will automatically deploy the instant its door is opened.

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