Business English Vocabulary: Aviation

Thinking about joining the world of aviation either as a flight controller, a pilot, or an air hostess? With a range of jobs as travel-focused and global as aviation, it helps to strengthen your industry-specific English skills before you take that next step into your career. Read on for some English vocab you might need if you see a future in this industry.



This is the building where all flights take off and land, usually located on the outskirts of a city.



The cargo is where the baggage is kept on the plane, including suitcases, boxes, sporting equipment, musical instruments, etc.



This is the front of the plane where the pilot and co-pilot sit; everything is controlled from this room. No one other than flight attendants are allowed into the cockpit.


Cockpit of the plane - aviation terms
The pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit of the plane 


Control tower

People who work here have communication with all the planes taking off and landing at the airport and make sure each plane if following the correct route and has a specific time and location to land, ensuring the safety of all planes and passengers.


Conveyor belt

This is a moving belt in the baggage claim area where all luggage pieces are placed in order for passengers to pick up after they've arrived at their destination.


Hand luggage / checked luggage 

Put simply, hand luggage is what you take on the plane and checked luggage is what has to go in the hold of the plane because it is too heavy or too large. You need to check this luggage in as you arrive at the airport. Hand luggage is placed in the plane in lockers above the seats, and you'll have access to this luggage for the entire journey but will need to store it away for take off and landing. 


aviation luggage
Depending on the trip, you might have a small bag or lot of luggage to check


Economy / business / first class 

A plane is divided into economy, business, and first class, and passengers have the option to purchase a ticket in any of these levels. Economy class is the cheapest option, seats are found at the back of the plane and are smaller with less leg room. Business class offers more comfortable seats, more interesting food options, and priority to board the plane before many others. First class is the upper end and passengers might have fully reclinable chairs that turn into comfortable beds with duvets, access to a beautiful shower room, spa treatments, and free champagne! 


Overhead compartment

These are situated above the seating area in a plane where passengers can place their checked luggage. These should be stored away during take off and landing but can be opened during the flight. 



These are usually international flights that are longer than 6 hours. You might be traveling from north to south, luckily avoiding any jet lag, or across the world from east to west or west to east passing through many time zones! 


long flight aviation
You better get comfortable – it's a long flight!



This is a piece of land that pilots use to take off and land the plane, it’s a specific length, and well lit at night for flights landing in the evening.



This is the term used when planes drive around, either driving to the runaway before take off or heading to the terminal building after landing.   



Terminals are situated inside the airport building; it’s where passengers are able to get on and off the plane. Most often terminals are separated by international and domestic departures.


waiting in the terminal for their flight - aviation terms
Commuters waiting in the terminal building to board their flight


If aviation isn’t for you why not search through other career areas? We can help you prepare for a range of careers in English. 

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