Travel Glossary

As in many businesses, over the years the airlines have developed unique meanings for many commonly used terms. This often leads to bewilderment of passengers simply wanting to get from one point to another without having to learn a whole new set of definitions.  

So as an Err Travel service to those of you who may have some confusion about travel terms, we offer the following definitions.    

Cancellation [noun]
(1) A bank stamp on the back of a returned check.
(2) An announcement displayed on a television monitor in a passenger waiting area notifying those passengers that they won't be going anywhere anytime soon.  

Carrier [noun]
(1) Something fathers used to put on the tops of their Pontiacs to hold a tent for summer vacations. 

(2) A term used by mothers when cautioning their teenage sons about “bad girls.”  

Carry-on [noun]
Dead and putrefying flesh.

Carry on [verb]
What new husbands should seriously think about curtailing if they expect their marriages to last.


Charter [noun]
A person who makes charts. A job similar to a cartographer. (E.g., The charts prepared to show Congress that the airlines are indeed viable in spite of losing money for years and years were prepared by a charter.) [Not to be confused with a “Charo-ter,” which is a Cuchi-Cuchi groupie.]

Commercial flight [phrase]
A back-to-nature movement best represented by people who are leaving big cities with commercial blight for places such as Vermont where there are no billboards.

Confirmed reservation [phrase]
Like when you get to the airport to discover that your flight has been cancelled, and you had a feeling all along that that was going to happen.  

Connecting flight [noun]
Sometimes called a mid-air collision.  

Codeshare [verb]
Nefarious activities that got the likes of Robert Hanssen, Aldridge Ames and Edward Snowden in big trouble.  

Deplane [phrase]
The trademark statement of Herve Villechaize of Fantasy Island.

Direct flight [noun]
An airplane traveling to a destination that will make a minimum of eight stops, wherein passengers will not be allowed to get off at any of those stops.  

Embark [noun]
The shrill shouting of Madonna (known to her crew as "M") when she gets ticked off.  

Nonstop flight [phrase]
The expected form of air travel wherein an aircraft remains airborne between take-off and landing. (Antonym: Crash)  

On-time [adjective]
For travelers using ground transportation, this generally means that they can expect to depart and/or arrive at a time near their expectations. For air travelers, this term rarely applies.  

Overbooking [noun]
Something many college freshman are seldom guilty of.   

Overpacked baggage [phrase]
Description of health club patrons the first week after New Year’s.  

Overwater flight [phrase]
A preferred airplane travel alternative to submarining.  

Preassigned seat [phrase]
A buttocks that one acquires at birth.

Rack rate [phrase]
The nightly cost of a hotel or motel room and one that is almost never charged.

Re-assigned seat [phrase]
A surgical procedure that reshapes the buttocks. Also called a gluteoplasty.

Terminal [noun]
A building where airline passengers gather prior to and/or following their travels, often to receive news of delays or cancellations.

Terminal [adjective]
(1) The prognosis for the business models of many of today’s airlines.

(2) The treatment given many airline passengers when they arrive at (coincidentally) a terminal.  

Trip [verb]
What Dr. Timothy Leary was on during much the 60’s and beyond, man. 

Water landing [phrase]Crash, with one exception: January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549.

Water evacuation [phrase]
A procedure not unlike a colostomy. Note: Some airline passengers report the same feeling after deplaning from a direct flight.

If you have other terms to add to this glossary, please send them to

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