The airline industry is based on acronyms. Airport city codes, emergency equipment, types of passengers, and even employee titles within the airline are shortened into something easier to remember and quicker to say. In reality, acronyms are also created and used as code to talk about fellow flight attendants and pilots when we're in the galley gossiping! After the jump, find out what a few of these "codes" mean, and whether or not you've been our "IFB!"
I’ve been in the industry for seven years and two months ago I learned an acronym that I had never heard before: GOL. We were in-flight, half way across the country and, naturally, my crew and I were engaging in a little “galley gossip.” (Acronyms may be what the airline industry is based on, but rumors fuel it.) One of the other flight attendants was telling me a story about a pilot she had recently worked with who had been hitting on one of the other female flight attendants on their trip despite the fact that he was married.
This story took me by surprise, because, in the past, this same pilot had hit on me during a New York layover. And that’s when she said it. “He’s GOL.”
So what is “GOL” you ask? Gay On Layovers.
A few years ago I was working a New York flight which arrived three hours late, around 11pm. By the time we got to our glamorous hotel which notoriously had no hot water, broken air conditioning, a perfect view of the runways at JFK (with surround sound), and a restaurant and bar which the health department closed down (twice), all of the local restaurants had closed and we were forced to order in. My first officer and one of my fellow flight attendants decided to head to bed and would go in search of food in the morning, but my other flight attendant and our Captain placed our orders with a take-out Indian restaurant. While we waited, our Captain braved the streets of Jamaica, Queens, and walked to a gas station to buy some beer. When he returned with a 24-pack, we started to “de-brief” our day. In airline speak a “de-briefing” happens after an emergency. The FAA would talk to each crew member, independently to investigate what happened and their side of the story. But after a long day, we use that term to signify de-stressing and winding down with a few cocktails. However, this pilot was apparently using that term to signify removing my briefs.
The more we drank the more apparent it was. I could make the stupidest joke and he’d laugh. He was trying his hardest to flirt with me looking for a clue that I was interested. The other flight attendant and I, even through our beer goggles, could see right through it sharing in looks of “is he serious right now?” Well, he indeed was.
It’s no secret that the stereotype surrounding flight attendants and pilots is that we have someone ‘special’ in every port we visit (whether they’re married and/or committed or not!). A lot of folks seem to think that the only thing we do on layovers is get laid, but that’s simply not true of everyone. That’s right, I’m not going to claim that everyone is the same and not looking for a hotel hottie to come over and visit for a while, but for the most part, if there’s anything we do crave on every layover it’s food (not from a plane) and sleep.
However, for those crew members who do decide to do the dirty on their layover the whole company seems to find out about it overnight— especially if it involves a flight attendant and a pilot. I wasn’t about to be the stereotype and the topic of tomorrow’s galley gossip, so I resisted. And trust me, he was easy to resist.
But, let’s say, because he got me good and lubed, with the beer of course, I was interested in finding someone to spend the night with. But before the likes of Grindr and Scruff, where did guys turn? Craigslist.
That’s the next acronym in today’s lesson: CHU. Craigslist Hook Up. It’s actually a fun game for those of us that don’t want to partake in a post-flight frolic in the sheets. The game is simple: Log onto Craigslist and click onto the “Men for Men” personals section. Now, do a search for the hotel your airline puts overnighting crews in and the surrounding area. Now, try to match the posted ads with photos of headless torsos with the crewmembers you know are also spending the night there. Of course, you’ll never know if you were right or not unless you contact them, but hey, it’s a lot of fun!
And lastly, I briefly touched on this acronym in a previous column. IFB. InFlight Boyfriend. This is the hot guy on the plane that's incredibly good to look at and may even be flirting with you. Sure, you know that the relationship won’t continue on the ground, this is just a “one flight stand
,” but shameless gawking and flirting never hurt anyone.
In the end, though the InFlight Training Department at any given airline will drill you with phrases, terms and acronyms to learn, the real learning experience happens the second you walk on an airplane as a certified flight attendant. There's an old flight attendant joke: There's three forms of fast communication, telephone, television and tell-a-flight attendant.
Read more of Bobby’s observations from high above here at Instinct's Travel Desk and check out his own fabulous and funny blog about his traveling misadventures at upupandagay.com