Deplane or disembark

Grammarist

To deplane is to get off of an airplane. It is a verb that is conjugated through all the tenses. It was coined in the 1920s and is an odd usage of the prefix de-. While it is used in some words to mean removal, such as dehumidify, in deplane it is not the plane that is being removed, but the person from the aircraft. Deplane is more commonly used inside the United States.

A synonym for deplane is disembark, which means to get off of an aircraft or ship. But disembark also carries the meanings of a ship or plane leaving the shore or land.

Disembark is more commonly found, but it is unclear if that is because of it’s alternate meanings, since deplane can only be used to when speaking of airplanes. When in doubt, use the more common verbiage.

Examples

But according to the 26-page complaint, United Airlines refused to deplane Flight 869, and the ground crew inspected only the auxiliary power unit, or APU, near the drawings, and said it was a “joke.” [10 TV]

A SpiceJet flight was grounded here today minutes before its take off after developing a technical snag and all the 66 passengers were deplaned, airport sources said. [The Economic Times]

When Mr. Overby (Ulrich Thomsen) deplanes he assumes that Aya is his driver … and she doesn’t tell him otherwise. [Kansas City Star]

The boarding and deplaning process was also faster and more civilized with fewer carry-on bags to obstruct the aisle. [Cleveland]

3 thoughts on “Deplane or disembark”

  1. “But disembark also carries the meanings of a ship or plane leaving the shore or land.”

    I respectfully disagree. A vessel sails or departs when leaving port. Disembark and embark are restricted to passengers leaving or boarding a ship, whereas cargo is loaded or discharged from a vessel.

    Reply

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