I am looking for a correct term meaning that the given plane is in a state of unloading/ "unboarding" arrived passengers, just before it will board departing passengers.

I can't find this on airport sites, and according to spellcheckers "unboarding" is not a correct word.

  • I thought you were talking about the incident on United then I checked the date stamp.
    – Golden Cuy
    May 28, 2017 at 0:57

3 Answers 3


deboard (Wiktionary)

To exit a form of transportation such as a boat, ship, airplane, trolley, streetcar or spaceship.

syn. disembark, deplane

  • 1
    Nice illustration of the limitations of synonymy. Mar 1, 2014 at 12:23
  • 1
    Debark? Nov 18, 2016 at 4:31
  • If TV is right, it must be deplane: youtube.com/watch?v=USfKJYZcUmI
    – fixer1234
    May 27, 2017 at 20:54
  • Standby passengers that can be kicked off by the airline if it needs the space for higher priority pax are known as "PAD" = passenger available for disembarkation :-)
    – Fab
    Dec 28, 2020 at 17:06

All my life I have heard deplane instead of deboard. But it seems a difference without a distinction.

  • @fev It's a very common saying for this sort of thing, at least in my neck of the woods. Your comment comes off a bit snarky.
    – Phil Sweet
    Dec 28, 2020 at 2:13
  • I agree, will delete it.
    – fev
    Dec 28, 2020 at 2:26
  • Yes, deplaning, OR disembarking, the older term.
    – Lambie
    Dec 28, 2020 at 14:06
  • Hello, Kevin. Can you add supporting reference? Or at least an estimate of frequencies. I don't think I've come across 'deplane' except in this thread. 'Disembark' I am familiar with (I last flew in 2017, and remember the Caravelle). Dec 28, 2020 at 14:58
  • I used to hear disembarking, then in the past couple of decades, more of deplaning. But never deboarding. Dec 28, 2020 at 16:48

Alight - from most English dictionaries

  • 1
    Welcome to English Language & Usage. You might want to cite a dictionary definition; this is not a common word (I never heard of it, but I'm not a native speaker so that doesn't count.)
    – Glorfindel
    May 27, 2017 at 20:49
  • ... It's not as common as it used to be, and formal, but is/was usually only used for getting off buses and trams. Nov 11, 2020 at 15:34
  • This does not answer the question posed. alight describes what a single person does. The questions asks about how to describe the plane’s state of unloading.
    – Jim
    Dec 28, 2020 at 19:10

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