This Airport Lingo Will Help You Become Fluent In The Language Of The Sky

The way that airport crew members speak conveys a lot more than you may realize. While some lingo is pure slang, like “deadheads,” other terminology was created to protect lives onboard. An incident in 1977 involved two planes crashing into one another because of miscommunication with air traffic control. For this reason, all major airlines have to use English to communicate, and they must use a certain lingo that’s universal. Read on to learn a bit about the language of the sky.

Let’s Kick The Tires And Light The Fires

A Plane On The Runway
Marcel Kusch/picture alliance via Getty Images
Marcel Kusch/picture alliance via Getty Images

At first, the phrase “Let’s kick the tires and light the fires” sounds like a threat. Most people don’t find a sense of comfort in the idea of a plane on fire. However, if you heard Harry Connick Jr. utter the phrase in the movie Independence Day, you know it’s a positive thing to say.

The phrase is interchangeable with the more common term, “cleared for takeoff.” It’s a spunkier way of saying “let’s go.” So the next time your flight attendant checks to see if you’re bucked in and ready to go, you can tell them to go ahead and kick the tires.