Airline Employment Glossary


    A&P Airframe and powerplant. A&P technicians keep aircraft in safe flying condition and are licensed by the FAA.

    A-scale Pay scales for those hired before deregulation. Pay scales are higher than those hired after deregulation.

    Aft The rear of an aircraft.

    Air traffic control The government employees directing takeoffs, landings, and flight plans for all aircraft.

    B-scale Pay scales for those hired after deregulation. Pay scales start at a lower rate than A-scale and increase with seniority.

    Bank A group of aircraft waiting to land at the same airport at the same time.

    Base The airport from which flight crews are assigned.

    Beltloader The machine used to load and unload luggage from an aircraft.

    Bidding The process of requesting a flight schedule for flight attendants. Requests are filled according to seniority.

    Blackout The seasonal period when special fares or employee discounts are not honored for travel on airlines.

    Boarding pass The coupon containing passenger and flight information which a passenger must present in order to board a flight.

    Block hours The time period from when an aircraft leaves the gate to its arrival to the destination gate.

    Buddy pass A discounted travel ticket for the friend of an employee.


    Cabin The interior of an aircraft where the passengers sit.

    Cattle call A group interview process primarily used for hiring flight attendants.

    Charter A flight that has been contracted to fly from one city to another.

    Chocks A block of wood or rubber to stabilize the wheels when parking an aircraft.

    Cockpit The forward section of the airplane where the pilots sit during a flight.


    Deadhead A crew member flying as a passenger to reach an assignment in another location.

    De-icing The process of spraying a glycol solution on the wings of an aircraft to prevent the formation of ice during inclement weather conditions.

    Deregulation The 1978 lifting of government regulation of fares and route assignments.

    Direct flight A flight from one destination to another with stops between but no change of aircraft.

    Domicile The city where flight crews are based.


    FAA The Federal Aviation Administration is the government agency that regulates the airline industry.

    Flight coupon The part of an airline ticket that serves as the boarding pass.

    Flight hours Same as block hours.

    Fuselage The main body of an aircraft.


    Gate The area where passengers board and deplane an aircraft.

    Hub A city that serves as a major intersection for connections to other destinations.


    Inbound A flight coming into the airport.

    Interline The use of more than one airline for an itinerary.

    J-line A painted line to direct aircraft from the runway to the gates.

    Jetway The mobile walkway that connects the plane and the terminal used to transport passengers.


    Layover An overnight stay for a flight crew member in a city other than the home base city.

    Marshalling The process of using hand signals to direct an aircraft to park.

    Maximum take-off weight The maximum weight allowed for an aircraft to take off safely.


    Nonstop A flight from one destination to another without any stops between.

    Offload The process of unloading cargo and luggage from an aircraft.

    Outbound A flight going out of an airport.


    Per diem A regulated daily allowance for crew members for time spent away from the home base.

    Plucker The person that collects tickets at the gate.

    Power back When the plane backs up under its own power.

    Pushback When the plane is pushed backwards by a ramp agent in a push tug vehicle.


    Ramp stand The portable stairs positioned at the door of the airplane for exiting and entering of passengers.

    Recruiter The facilitator in a group interview session.

    Reserve Flight crew members who do not have regularly scheduled shifts, but are still working on an on-call basis.

    Runway The strip on the airfield where airplanes takeoff and land.


    Scheduled Flights that are regularly scheduled and available to the general public.

    Standby A passenger who does not have a confirmation on a flight and is allowed to board only after the confirmed passengers have been seated.


    Taxi When an aircraft moves under its own power on the ground.

    Tow bar The equipment used to push an aircraft away from the gate.

    Tug The vehicle used to pull carts of luggage and cargo.

    Turn time The amount of time an aircraft has on the ground before it must depart.

    Turnaround A flight that leaves and returns to the original city in the same day.


    Wide body An aircraft which has dual aisles.

    Wing walker The term for a ramp agent who walks beside the aircraft to watch for traffic.


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