A Pilot Reveals The Meaning Of 7 Code Words Passengers Don’t Understand

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When it comes to flying, most of us know very little. We just arrive at the airport, get on the plane, and travel to our destination.


When in the air, there are certain code words pilots and flight attendants use to communicate with one another. The next time you fly, listen for these words.

1) All-call

During the flight, the pilot might make an announcement for the flight attendants to “all-call.” This is typically done before the plane lands.


This just means that each flight attendant should check in and call from their particular station. It ensures that everyone is in their place as the plane begins to descend.

2) Holding pattern

Everyone is familiar with this term, as it has come into everyday usage. When you’re in the air, it means basically the same thing as it does in normal life.


The plane enters a holding pattern if there’s a delay at the airport that is blocking all available runways. Typically, this is due to weather issues or mechanical troubles with a plane on the ground. When in a holding pattern, the plane flies in big ovals near the airport until a runway opens up.

3) Last minute paperwork

Before a plane takes off, a pilot might announce that they’re going over some “last minute paperwork” in the cockpit. Just what forms could they possibly be filling out up there?

SOS Catastrophes

This typically means that there’s some last minute changes to the flight plan, pilots waiting for the mechanic’s final check, or just a confirmation that the plane is flying at a safe weight. It’s a last-minute check to ensure that everything is safe before the plane takes off.

4) Equipment

Pilots may make an announcement regarding the “equipment” in flight. Usually, it’s a reference to a change in equipment when the plane lands, requiring all passengers to leave the plane even if they’re flying on to the next destination.


The equipment is the plane itself. No one’s quite sure why they don’t just call it the airplane, but equipment is the preferred term.

5) Deadhead

Some flight attendants might be referred to as “deadheads” by other attendants. Are they referring to hippies when they call them this?


They’re actually referring to a flight attendant who is flying to be repositioned to join another crew. They aren’t traveling for fun, they’re flying to another job.

6) Doors to arrival and crosscheck

Before the plane lands, the pilot will make an announcement of, “Doors to arrival and crosscheck.” This is a message to the lead flight attendant.

Frequently Flying

They will check the doors to turn off the emergency escape slides. If the emergency escape slides aren’t disabled, they’ll automatically deploy when the doors are opened.

7) The ramp

There are times when a pilot or flight attendant might make a reference to “the ramp.” This is actually a part of the tarmac at the airport.

Fifty Sky Shades

It’s the place where airplanes are active either parking or taxiing to the runway. It’s called this because the early days of flight were often seaplanes that were literally kept at a ramp when not in the air.

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