"The ___ were served two meals during the flight."
a. flyers b.clients c.passengers d.travelers
Correct Answer: c.passengers
My question is why isn't option a. flyers correct, since a flyer is somebody who travels by plane ? When is it usually used ?

3 Answers 3


The answer to this question is quite simple. When we talk about passengers we mean only passengers, not passengers + pilot + engineer + officers +other crew or staff working on the aircraft, which flyers mean. Passengers is the most appropriate word to be used here. Isn't it unnatural to say "The flyers were served two meals during the flight, especially when we have an appropriate word?

I know flyer is a synonym of passenger, but like other synonyms they are not necessarily interchangeable in all cases. We have another synonym traveller. I think it also does not properly fit in the sentence mentioned. We often read frequent flyers instead of frequent passengers. What I mean is that the use of synonyms depends very much on the situation or condition we are referring to.


A flyer (var. flier) is someone who travels by plane from time to time. Fliers are people who (usually) take planes when they travel.

A flier can be standing on terra firma. To be a flier, all that is necessary is that one has taken a plane and remains willing to take a plane and plans to take planes in the future.

A flyer on a particular flight is a passenger on the flight.

A nervous flier is someone with a fear of flying. You could ask a person sitting beside you on the train, "Are you a nervous flier?", and they could answer "Yes". It means they get nervous whenever they fly in a plane. You don't have to be in a plane to be a nervous flier. And you don't have to be in a plane to be a flier.


It is possible because the word 'flyer' does mean a person who travels in a plane as a passenger.

A verdict from the High Court of India document reads -

The respondent before this Court was engaged in preparation and packaging of food for the various airlines, for being served to the flyers. One of the airlines for which packed food used to be prepared by the appellant was British Airways.

But since the word flyer has other close meanings as well, the option passengers serves the purpose without any ambiguity.

Few of those meanings of a flyer include...

a person who flies an aircraft (usually a small one, not a passenger plane)
a person who operates something such as a model aircraft or a kite from the ground.
a person, an animal or a vehicle that moves very quickly.

Passengers is the word that talks about nothing but the people on plane traveling from one place to another and is less ambiguous than the word flyers.

  • 2
    It's not really about ambiguity. Flyer just isn't the right word for the context. (I don't know of any reason why other than that passenger is conventionalized in this context.)
    – user230
    Oct 2, 2014 at 9:00
  • Your answer contains at least five instances of non-idiomatic English (including an error in subject-verb agreement). It reads almost like broken English. I don't find this helpful. In addition, the issue is not about ambiguity, but about word usage, as sailboat says.
    – user6951
    Oct 2, 2014 at 13:23
  • @snailboat what do you think about 'frequent flyers' then?
    – Maulik V
    Oct 2, 2014 at 17:17
  • @carsmack enlighten me further then
    – Maulik V
    Oct 2, 2014 at 17:18
  • 3
    I think frequent flyer is a fixed phrase distinct from flyer with separate patterns of usage. All three terms are appropriate in different contexts.
    – user230
    Oct 2, 2014 at 20:30

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