Contemporary travel involves extensive exposure to slang, not all of it familiar. One source that stands out for learning vital travel slang is the Travel Industry Dictionary. This online resource provides the contemporary traveler with up-to-date travel terminology including slang used in the industry. Do you know what “cuddle class” is? You do if you checked the Travel Industry Dictionary’s feature “today’s travel term” Dec. 27. In case you didn’t and haven’t otherwise come across this phrase, “cuddle class” refers to a row of three coach seats with footrests that extend upward to meet the seats, creating a narrow bed for 2. “Cuddle class” probably hasn’t hit the mainstream since it’s only available on Air New Zealand.
If you check the Recently Added section of the Travel Industry Dictionary, you’ll find the most up-to-date entries. Bet you can guess what “pull a Slater” means, but in case you’ve forgotten who Slater is, he’s the guy who, after “blowing the slide” on JetBlue found himself in the unemployment line.
A “Larry chair” is a discreet way of referring to special seating designed for the obese, also known as “customers of size.”
“Torture class” isn’t hard to guess. Anyone who’s spent considerable time in economy or coach seating can intuitively fathom the meaning. Same goes for “bagsmasher;” this slang for baggage handler is immediately recognizable to anyone who’s witnessed the results of a bagsmasher’s labors- guitarist Dave Carroll, for example. Carroll’s music video depicting the results of an encounter between his prized guitar and United bagsmashers became an internet sensation in 2009.
“Gate rape” is a relatively new term for what is euphemistically called enhanced pre-gate security by folks such as the Transportation Security Administration. Gate rape has given rise to “Rocky Flats.” What are Rocky Flats, you ask? Radiation blocking undergarments with strategically placed fig leaf shields to counteract TSA’s radioactive assaults on passenger dignity and privacy. You knew it was only a matter of time, right?
The same folks who brought you gate rape also are responsible for the slang “TSA’d,” meaning sexually molested and “freedom pat,” meaning, well, sexually molested by a TSA official doing his duty in his official capacity.
“Salmoning” refers to another mode of transportation altogether; it means riding a bike the wrong way on a one-way street (like salmon swimming upstream.) If you are traveling on an airplane with your bike in the hopes of doing some salmoning at your destination, it’s imperative to keep it safe from those notorious bagsmashers.