Good Advice Plane Speaking

Aviation glossary


ATC (Air Traffic Control)

Air Traffic Control is provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. ATC systems work to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize traffic flow, and to provide information and other support for pilots, such as for weather and navigation.
All pilots and all controllers everywhere are required to be able to speak and understand English, to ensure good communication.

Angled lie-flat
Angled lie-flat seats are flat beds that have a tilt – so your body is flat but at an angle of, say, 160 degrees.

An Advance Purchase Excursion (APEX) ticket is an officially discounted seat offered by an airline, with certain restrictions. These tickets must be booked and paid for well in advance of departure, varying between seven days and a month. A minimum stay abroad is required and there are no stopovers allowed, but the restrictions are well worth the reductions – up to 60 per cent.

Arr stands for the arrival time of a flight.

Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) means you can select and watch or listen to video or audio content when you want. Airline AVOD systems offer passengers the opportunity to select specific stored video or audio content and play it on demand, with some offering the ability to pause, rewind and fast forward the in-flight entertainment.

Founded in 1937, the British Air Line Pilots Association is a specialist organization with the aim of protecting and improving the professional status, pay and conditions of its members. Over 75% of Britain’s pilots and flight engineers belong to BALPA, which is among the world’s largest flight crew associations – second in size only to the US Air Line Pilots’ Association.

The Civil Aviation Authority, which is a public corporation, was established by Parliament in 1972 as an independent specialist aviation regulator and provider of air traffic services. Its activities include economic regulation, airspace policy, safety regulation and consumer protection.
The UK Government requires that the CAA’s costs are met entirely from its charges on those whom it regulates. Unlike many other countries, there is no direct Government funding of the CAA’s work.

Economy class can be referred to as coach class.

Code Share
A flight operated by an airline can be jointly marketed as a flight for one or more other airlines. Most major airlines today have code sharing partnerships with other airlines, and code sharing is a key feature of the major airline alliances.
Under a code sharing agreement participating airlines can present a common flight number, which provides clearer routing for the passenger and may ease connection times. Cooperating airlines try to synchronize their schedules and coordinate luggage handling, which makes transfers between connecting flights less time-consuming.
Under a code sharing agreement, the airline that actually operates the flight (the one providing the plane, the crew and the ground handling services) is called the operating carrier. The company or companies that sell tickets for that flight but do not actually operate it are called marketing carriers.

Dep stands for the departure time of a flight.

EmPower is a 12V DC aircraft power adaptor found on many commercial airlines designed to provide power to travellers' electronic devices. Travellers can buy EmPower adapters before travel that allow them to run laptops and other electronic equipment without using battery power.

Extended Range (ER) planes are variations of aircraft that can fly for around 14 hours. Examples of these are the Boeing 767-300ER and B777-300ER. Delta and Continental both have ER planes.

Frequent Flier Programmes are offered by many airlines to reward customer loyalty. Airline customers can enroll on an airline’s programme to accumulate points – or miles – for the distance flown on that airline. Points can be redeemed for free air travel or for benefits, such as  airport lounge access or priority bookings.

Fixed back shell
Fixed back shell seats are a new type of seat, where each passenger is enclosed in a fixed shell so that they can recline without encroaching on the row behind them.

Fully flat beds offer a 180-degree flat bed to sleep on.

A herringbone seating formation is where the lie-flat convertible seats are arranged in a staggered design, so all passengers have aisle access.

A hub is a term used to refer to an airport that an airline uses frequently for connecting passengers, and cargo. Travellers moving between airports not served by direct flights use a hub to change planes to get to their destination.
The 30 busiest airports in the world are hubs for major airlines – arriving and departing passengers may never enter the country it is in. An airport can be a hub for more than one airline, and an airline may have more than one hub.

The International Air Travel Association (IATA) is an international trade body that represents 230 airlines – around 93% of scheduled international air traffic, both passenger and cargo. IATA aims to help airlines to simplify processes, improve safety standards and minimize the impact of air transport on the environment. It also serves as an intermediary between airlines and passengers as well as cargo agents.

In-flight entertainment (IFE) is any type of audio or visual entertainment offered by an airline during a flight. This can vary widely from AVOD, video games and personal screens to a single large video screen at the front of a cabin section, as well as smaller monitors situated every few rows above the aisles.
Moving map systems are a popular addition for in-flight entertainment, providing a real-time update of the plane’s route. In addition to displaying a map that illustrates the position and direction of the plane, the system gives altitude, airspeed, distance to destination, distance from origination and local time. Moving-map system information is derived from the aircraft's flight computer systems.

The fare category for non-discounted business class.

Long range planes regularly fly sectors of around 18 hours. The Airbus A340-500 and the Boeing 777-300LR are the two aircraft with the longest range of any.

The seat pitch is the distance between two airline seats, generally measured from the back of the seat cushion in front of you to the front of the backrest of the seat you are sitting on. It is the standard industry measure of legroom. As an example, most economy seats on scheduled airlines offer a 31-32 inch pitch.

Mid-class seats, generally known as Premium Economy, are a standard between economy class and business class, and are priced accordingly. The mid-class offering usually means more leg room than standard economy seats, but the same food as in economy.

A Round-The-World (RTW) ticket enables travelers to fly around the globe for a relatively low price. Passengers can take advantage of the wide variety of routes offered by airline alliances such as SkyTeam, Star Alliance and Oneworld. Tickets are priced according to class of service, origin of travel, number of continents, mileage (usually between 20,000 and 40,000 miles), and sometimes season of travel. Tickets are usually subject to restrictions. For example, the start and end of the journey usually must be located in the same country and certain routes may be more expensive than others.

The technical term for a single journey length, e.g. London to Singapore. A return journey is two sectors.

V:Port is one of Virgin Atlantic’s flight entertainment systems – currently offered on B747-400s and A340-600s, although the aim is to roll it out across all aircraft in the future.
The system offers 300 hours of AVOD content, plus a jukebox with over 45 CDs, a selection of audio books and computer games. It also offers a Quick Find facility that allows passengers to look for films starring their favourite movie star, comedy shows or language programming. There is also a dedicated Kid’s Zone that has its own menus and contains programming suitable for children and a parental block. V:Port also has IMap, a fully interactive map application that allows passengers to track their flight and roam around the world, zooming in on different destinations and points of interest.

Ultra Long Range (ULR) aircraft can travel up to around 19 hours. Examples of planes are the Airbus A340-500 and the Boeing 777-200LR. Examples of airlines that fly ULRs are Emirates (from Dubai to Sydney) and Singapore Airlines (from Singapore to Los Angeles). London-Perth non-stop is a possibility with these aircraft, but the route is not viable economically due to the high fuel costs, as in order to carry enough fuel you have to burn extra fuel.