Not only do cabin crew often speak other languages than their own, but they have their own “language” that they use on board. However, this often overlaps in everyday life, depending on how long they fly. The terms are a mixture of abbreviated words, well-known terms in the aviation industry, but also funny names they use. This varies from airline to airline, but listen for yourself on your next flight.
ten U/S or inoperative
This is used when a piece of equipment is not working properly or at all. This could be the beverage machine in the kitchen or an oxygen cylinder, for example. Anything in the cabin can be tagged after a flight with a tag indicating U/S (out of service) or inop (inoperative) as well as being written to the cabin fault log. Engineers will then repair or replace the item before the next flight.
The cabin crew may forget and offer you “chix or beef”. Photo: airBaltic
The cabin crew often shortens the words, so the chicken becomes chix. You’d be surprised how many cabin crew members still use it to write a shopping list!
An unmin is not a new cartoon character – it’s actually a child traveling alone (unaccompanied minor). Cabin crew are responsible for caring for the unmin on board the aircraft, making sure they are well and have everything they need.
The Unmins are well taken care of by the cabin crew. Photo: TAP Air Portugal
The cabin crew can have a ferry, it does not mean a passage on a ship but means that they operate a flight without passengers. This can happen if an aircraft is “tech-switched” and another aircraft is sent to replace it.
6 End of technology
The plane has a problem or is not working properly and must be temporarily grounded.
5 Plonky pencil case
This is a kit that some cabin crew used to carry around to use during bar service (plonky coming from the slang “plonk” meaning booze). It would include items such as a corkscrew, ice tongs and serving apron, and possibly a tool for making garnishes for drinks. Nowadays, these types of items are provided by the airline and already on board the aircraft, as security might identify certain items as weapons. However, some crew members use the term to describe their own personal kit to keep clean during the flight and may include toiletries, makeup, a comb and bandages.
The honey truck is out there somewhere! Photo: Avia BavAria via Wikimedia commons
4 honey truck
This is the name affectionately given to the truck that collects toilet waste at the end of the flight.
3 Kitchen FM
This term is used to describe gossip or rumors in the kitchen during slower times. What is heard in the kitchen stays in the kitchen. Galley FM is a bit like social media – you never know if it’s quite true.
Waiting for a little FM hassle… Photo: American Airlines
The codpies do not refer to the meal on board but to the use of the exit row above the wing. The acronym makes it easier to remember when screening exit row passengers. Passengers who cannot sit on the exit row above the wing are: children, obese, deportees, passengers with reduced mobility or disabilities, infants, elderly and sick or pregnant . This varies from airline to airline.
1 Dinner Delsey
This refers to cabin crew and pilots who prefer to stay in their hotel room during a layover and save their allowances. They tend to bring their own food with them in their suitcase (so Delsey). Hence, they become known as the “Diner Delsey”.