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So that’s what disarm and crosscheck means!

Meghan Overdeep
February 20, 2018

Even though more people are flying than ever before, the world of air travel still retains a certain air of mystery. For most travelers, everything the pilot says that isn’t “welcome aboard” or “turbulence,” might as well be a foreign language.

In an effort to shed some light on the enigmatic industry, long-time commercial airline pilot and author of 2013’s Cockpit Confidential, Patrick Smith, published a glossary of the most misunderstood air travel terms.

From crosscheck to flight deck, keep reading to unlock the meaning behind 10 of the most head-scratching terms you hear while traveling the friendly skies.

"Air pocket."

A quick jolt of turbulence. These are often the result of vertical air currents, which can cause a sudden change in altitude.


Part of the arming/disarming procedure, this is a request that each flight attendant report via intercom from his or her station, Smith writes.

"Area of weather."

This typically refers to a thunderstorm or patch of heavy precipitation.

"Doors to arrival and crosscheck."

Also heard as “disarm your doors and crosscheck,” this is announced by the lead flight attendant as the plane approaches the gate. This is to confirm that the emergency escape slides attached to the doors have been disarmed. When armed, a slide will automatically deploy the instant its door is opened. Talk about an arrival!

Crosscheck is a term meaning that one person has verified the task of another. Flight attendants crosscheck each other’s stations to make sure the doors are armed or disarmed as necessary.

"Final approach."

An airplane is on final approach when it has reached the last, straight segment of the landing pattern, and requires no additional turns or maneuvering.


The cockpit.

"Flight level."

According to Smith, this is a fancy way of saying how many thousands of feet you are above sea level.

"Ground stop."

When a traffic backlog causes Air Traffic Control to temporarily suspend flights to a destination.

"Holding pattern."

A racetrack-shaped path flown when weather and traffic delays are preventing the plane from landing.

WATCH: Why You Should Always Turn on the Air Vent Above You During a Flight

"Last-minute paperwork."

When the pilot announces that he’s “just finishing up some last minute paperwork,” it means that everything is ready to go, but he has to make adjustments to the weight-and-balance record, or revision to the flight plan before takeoff.