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Common Airport Terminology | Comprehensive Guide for Travelers on Air Travel

Learning airport and aviation terminology is crucial for air travelers because knowing these terms helps you communicate better and more effectively with airport staff, security services, flight crew, and other passengers. Understanding airport terminology helps you better comprehend important information provided through airport announcements or your electronic ticket. Consequently, you can follow instructions and prevent any confusion. In this article from the Sepehran blog, we intend to examine common airport terminology. Stay with us.

Why airport terminology?

  • Terms related to check-in
  • Security terms
  • Terms related to boarding
  • Flight terms
  • VIP service terms
  • Lost and found terms
  • Important points in using airport terminology

Why Airport Terminology?

Knowing airport terminology is highly important for travelers, both experienced ones and those who travel relatively less frequently. Because by knowing and being aware of these terms, you can have a better understanding of announcements, display boards, and airport staff instructions.

Furthermore, knowledge of common airport terminology can help reduce misunderstandings and negative interactions with airport staff and flight crew. This not only contributes to personal peace of mind but can also help avoid delays or communication-related issues in certain situations.

Moreover, when passengers are familiar with airport terminology and procedures, they encounter fewer difficulties during the check-in process and proceed confidently through security checkpoints and departure gates. This reduces time spent at the airport and decreases the likelihood of delays.

In general, the importance of familiarity with airport terminology leads to:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Time savings – Increased security
  • Positive interactions
  • Awareness of rights and responsibilities
airport terminology
why knowing airport terminology is important?

Airport terminology related to check-in:

Air travel begins with the check-in process. During the check-in process at the airport, you may encounter specific terms that understanding them can help facilitate and expedite this process.

Here are some common airport terminology related to check-in and their explanations:

1.Check-in: This is the initial process to confirm your presence for the flight and usually involves selecting a seat on the airplane. You can do this at the airport or online.

2.Checked Baggage: This term refers to the luggage that you hand over at the airport and retrieve at the final destination from the baggage carousel.

3.Carry-on Baggage/Hand Luggage: This term refers to a small bag or suitcase that you carry with you into the airplane cabin and must be placed under the seat or in the overhead compartment.

4.Boarding Pass: This card contains important information such as the flight number, gate number, and boarding time, and you should always have it accessible.

5.Check-in Deadline: This term refers to the latest time by which you can check-in for your flight. If you miss this time, you may lose the permission to board the aircraft.

6.Check-in Counter: This term refers to the location where you go at the airport to check-in, drop off your baggage, and receive your boarding pass.

7.Self-Check-in Kiosk: It is a machine available at many airports where you can perform the check-in process yourself instead of standing in line at the check-in counter.

8.Boarding Time: This term refers to the time when you should enter the airplane. It is usually before the actual flight time.

9.Gate: It is a specific location in the airport where passengers proceed from the terminal to the aircraft. The gate number is indicated on your boarding pass.

10.Delay: This word refers to situations when your flight is postponed for various reasons, such as weather conditions or technical issues.

These terms are part of the common language used in airports and airlines, and being familiar with them can make your air travel process smoother and less stressful.

airport terminology
airport terminology related to check-in at the airport

Airport Terminology Related to Security:

In airports, the security section is one of the most important and sensitive areas, and passengers need to be familiar with the terminology and procedures related to airport security. Below are some commonly used airport terminology related to security:

1.Security Check: The process that all passengers must go through, which includes the inspection of their carry-on items to ensure there are no dangerous or prohibited items.

2.Body Scan: The process of using body scanning devices to ensure that passengers do not have any prohibited items on their bodies.

3.Metal Detector: A device that passengers pass through to check if they have any prohibited metal items on their person.

4.Baggage Screening/X-ray Screening: The process where checked baggage and carry-on items are inspected using X-ray machines to ensure there are no prohibited or dangerous items inside.

5.Prohibited Items: Objects or materials that are not allowed to be carried on an aircraft, such as weapons, explosives, and liquids exceeding the permitted limit.

6.Security Profiling: A method where security staff select passengers for additional security checks based on behavior, appearance, or other specific factors.

7.Liquids Restriction: Rules that impose limitations on the volume of liquids passengers can carry in their carry-on items.

8.Security Checkpoint: The location in the airport where passengers must pass through security controls.

9.Random Inspection: When security staff randomly select passengers for additional security checks.

10.Pat-Down: A type of physical inspection where security staff use their hands to search a passenger’s body to ensure they are not hiding any prohibited items.

These terms are just a part of the commonly used airport terminology in the security section, and specific airports or countries may have additional terms and procedures.

airport terminology
Metal Detector

Airport Terminology Related to Boarding:

During the boarding phase, there are several specific terms related to boarding a plane that you may come across. These terms can help you better understand the terminology used in the boarding process. Here are some commonly used boarding-related terms:

1.Boarding Gate: A specific location in the airport where passengers gather to board the aircraft.

2.Boarding Time: A specific time indicated on the boarding pass when you should be present at the boarding gate to board the aircraft.

3.Boarding Announcement: An announcement typically made through airport announcements or information displays, informing passengers that boarding is ready.

4.Self-Boarding: A process where passengers can board the aircraft without assistance from airline staff by scanning their own boarding pass.

5.Final Call/Doors Closing: The time when the airport or airline announces that the aircraft doors are closing, and passengers who haven’t boarded yet should immediately proceed to the boarding gate.

6.Terminal: A building or buildings at the airport used for inbound and outbound flights. Some airports have multiple terminals.

7.No-Show Passenger: A passenger who doesn’t show up for their flight and is considered a no-show. Familiarizing yourself with commonly used airport terminology can make your air travel experience smoother and less stressful. It also helps you navigate the boarding process with more confidence.

airport terminology
Airport Terminology Related to Boarding

Flight Terminology:

During a flight, you may come across various terms and phrases used by the cabin crew or the aircraft’s announcement system. Understanding these terms can help you have a smoother and safer flight experience. Here are some commonly used flight-related terms:

  • Safety Instructions: Instructions and guidelines provided by the cabin crew at the beginning of the flight, including the use of seatbelts, locating emergency exits, using oxygen masks, etc.
  • Seatbelt Sign: This illuminated sign is turned on when passengers are required to fasten their seatbelts.
  • Emergency Exit: Doors used for quick evacuation of the aircraft in case of an emergency.
  • Turbulence: An unstable atmospheric condition that can cause the aircraft to experience shaking or turbulence.
  • Cabin: The interior space of the aircraft that includes passenger seats, aisles, and lavatories.
  • Ascend/Descend: The actions of climbing or descending the aircraft, respectively at the beginning and end of a flight.
  • Cruising Altitude: The altitude at which the aircraft maintains its flight for most of the journey.
  • Lavatory: Toilets or restroom facilities available inside the aircraft.
  • In-flight Meal Service: Meals and beverages served to passengers during the flight.
  • Cross-check: A standard phrase used by the cabin crew to ensure that all safety controls and emergency exits have been properly checked and prepared.
  • Landing: The act of the aircraft touching down on the ground.

By understanding these terms, passengers can have better expectations of the different stages of a flight and approach air travel with more confidence.

airport terminology
Seatbelt Sign: The illuminated sign indicating whether passengers should fasten or unfasten their seatbelts.

VIP Service Terminology:

VIP services at airports are offered to passengers seeking a luxurious and comfortable experience. These services may include access to exclusive facilities, personalized assistance, and expedited and hassle-free airport processing. Below are some commonly used terms related to VIP services:

  • VIP Lounge: Exclusive waiting areas that typically offer enhanced amenities compared to regular passenger lounges, such as complimentary food and beverages, high-speed internet, tranquil spaces for relaxation, etc.
  • Private Check-in: Separate and dedicated check-in services for VIP passengers, ensuring a faster and more convenient check-in process.
  • Private Transfer: Personalized transportation services using luxury vehicles to and from the airport, sometimes even from the aircraft door to the lounge or vice versa.
  • Expedited Passport and Customs Handling: Faster processing of passport and customs-related matters for VIP passengers to minimize waiting times in queues.
  • Private Resting Areas: Exclusive rooms or suites for rest or work in a peaceful and private environment.
  • Skip-the-Line Privileges: The ability to bypass queues at check-in, security, or boarding lines for expedited passage.

These services allow passengers to spend more time on work, leisure, or relaxation instead of waiting in long airport queues. Additionally, these services can enhance the travel experience for individuals seeking comfort and special amenities.

Lost and Found Terminology:

In this section, you can find the commonly used airport terminology related to lost items. During air travel, passengers may encounter situations where they lose personal belongings or misplace their luggage. In such cases, familiarity with the associated terminology can be very helpful in navigating the relevant department.

Here are some of these terms:

 Lost and Found Center: A location at the airport where passengers can report their lost items or search for lost items that have been found.

 Lost Property Report: A formal form or document that you complete to register the details of your lost items.

 Lost or Misplaced Luggage: A general term for luggage or packages that are lost or mistakenly sent to a different destination during travel.

Tracking: The process of searching for and tracing lost luggage or items in order to locate and retrieve them.

Claim Number or Tracking Number: A number provided to you to track the status of your lost luggage or items.

Redelivery: The process by which lost luggage or items, once found, are delivered back to their original owner.

Identification Tag: A tag that includes personal information and is attached to luggage or packages to facilitate easier retrieval in case of loss.


These lost and found-related terms can help you effectively communicate and make use of the lost item retrieval services when faced with the problem of lost items at the airport.

Final Words:

Ultimately, learning these terms not only makes your travel experience more comfortable but also helps you have a safe and hassle-free experience.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do we need to know all airport-related terminology?
? Not necessarily, but familiarity with the key terms can make your travel easier.
What should we do if we encounter a problem due to not knowing the terminology?
You can always ask airport staff for further assistance and guidance.
Do I need to know technical flight terminology as well?
No, generally, passengers do not need to know technical flight terminology.

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