Most jobs have a specialized language full of acronyms and jargon. Ours is no exception.
Each airport has a three letter city code. Some are obvious: DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth), BOS (Boston), STL (St Louis). Others are a little more puzzling: ORD (Chicago), MCO (Orlando), CDG (Paris).
We have codes for the various airlines themselves: UA (United), AA (American), HP (America West), BA (British Airways).
We have codes for things on the aircraft: AED (defibrillator), POB (portable oxygen bottle), UM (unaccompanied minor).
When you make your reservations there are all sorts of fare codes that even I can’t begin to decipher.
While frequently confused, there are two acronyms with very different meanings which flight attendants regularly use: ABP and APB.
ABP stands for able-bodied person, and is a term used in a variety of work environments. On the airplane it means people we would look to for assistance should it be needed. Flight attendants identify several ABPs per flight. It could mean strong individuals who we could count on to handle opening emergency exits. It could mean individuals with specialized knowledge, like doctors and nurses, law enforcement officers, or other airline workers. It could mean individuals who carry themselves with an air of leadership, who could be counted on to assist in an emergency situation. There are lots of people who could be an ABP.
APB stands for air-plane-boyfriend. There is only one APB per flight per flight attendant. It’s the expression that we use when we see someone gorgeous, interesting, sweet, funny, sexy, or downright HOT on our flight. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to take you home with us or date you in any way. It’s a status for the duration of the flight only, and is one that we freely talk about with our co-workers. For example: “Hey, dibs on the APB in 24C.”
As a further differentiation between the two, an APB is always an ABP. The same is not true in reverse.
Care to be my APB?