Below is the context.

Do we need to create a table to catch any in-flight data during the cut-over?

I looked the word in-flight up in several dictionaries and almost all of them state the meaning of it is:

Occurring, carried out, or present while in flight

But from the aforementioned context I think the meaning here probably is `something happened during a process". Apparently this has nothing to do with a flight. Hope some native speakers can help to confirm.

  • 1
    It means "in addition to the data already safely stored in the old table, do you want to ensure that any data which would have been stored in the old table is stored in the new table, during process of migration from the old table to the new table." That is, do you want both the old "data at rest" and the "data in motion"?
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 12, 2014 at 17:24
  • 4
    That really isn't enough context to give you a full answer. What process? What data? What cut-over? Aug 12, 2014 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


Yes you are correct in believing that in-flight means approximately "in progress" in this context and it has nothing to do with flying.

In this case it appears as if they are talking about upgrading back-end. During the process, the website or whatever the front end is would likely still be active making it appear as if users can still enter data, but there would be a period where that data would not be saved to the back-end.

in-flight in this context is referring to the period of time where the front-end is not linked to the back-end, and therefore the user data will not be saved. That is why they are asking if they need a table to store the data that is "caught" in-flight.

  • I cannot guess what in-flight means in this context, can you help ===> But the outrageous, pragmatic strong reader in this account reads as if he knows what he wants, and not as though he is conflicted about what he wants, or indeed is in flight from it (he might, of course, discover it through the reading).
    – Mey
    Apr 29, 2021 at 13:43

But from the aforementioned context I think the meaning here probably is `something happened during a process".

That is largely true, but the use of in-flight here is used to create the visualization of data as a plane. You can't (easily) divert planes in mid-air, so if you move/destroy their destination they are out of luck.

"Something happened during a process" implies that the process has stopped or gone awry. In-flight implies that something is in motion as normal, and needs a destination. It can't just stop where it is.

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