This Is Making Them Very (Past) Tense

, , , , , | Right | June 14, 2017

(I work at an airport in New York City. A customer approaches, looking confused after looking over the arriving flights monitor.)

Customer: “Excuse me, sir?”

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “What’s the difference between ‘Landing’ and ‘Landed’?”

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  • Clay

    Well it’s like the difference between “building” and “built”. Except not at all like that.

  • Phil Peligroso

    “One is happening, the other one has happened.”

    • Huck Perry

      “But what is the different between happening and happened?” lol

      • Stephen

        Happened is something that has already occurred. Happening is an awful film.

  • Richard Da Bunny

    The difference is important if you are standing on the runway.

  • Cathrope

    Landing means in the next 30 minutes to an hour, landed means already at the gate.

    • Walt Gee

      Where’d you got that?

      • Cathrope

        Wild guess.

    • Arokthis

      Actually, “landing” can mean anything from “half a mile up, descending” to “technically touching the ground, but still going fast enough to take off again, even if they don’t have enough fuel to get anywhere”

      “landed” means “on the ground and not going anywhere” – not necessarily at the gate.

      Source: Asked an airport tech friend of mine.

  • Ian Rennie

    sounds silly, but for someone waiting in arrivals I can see why they’d ask that. They likely mean what’s the difference in terms of time before people exit the airport.

  • danielle

    this makes me wonder if the customer’s first language is English. If English isn’t a first language i could see how that would be confusing to them.

    • Kira

      My first thought as well. It´s not that uncommon for people who learn English as a second language to be confused about tenses.

    • Abigail Hermione Irwin

      Good point. If English is their mother tongue, however, I suggest they figure out the difference by leaping out of a moving car as it’s “stopping,” rather than “stopped.”

      • danielle

        hahah i want to give you 100 up votes!

      • Marquess Squidface

        Take my upvote you magnificent human being.

    • That’s what I’m wondering, too. The present participle version of verbs (ending in -ing) so frequently used in English, can be confusing to non-native English speakers.

    • Arun Bhaskaran Edathody

      At least it’s not the pilot asking the question. That’d have me very worried.

  • Stephen

    “About 3 degrees and 170 knots, sir”

  • Mushroom

    Tire contact on the tarmac?

  • Walt Gee

    Well – it’s quite a good question. Are taxiing planes included in Landing or Landed category? Same question about those waiting ramps deployed, shuttle buses at the airfield or telescopic walkway attachment.
    Various landing procedures and terms depend on plane in transit airport rules.
    Thus, NAW category.

  • TheLastHonestLawyer

    Landing: The plane has entered the pattern and been assigned a place in the landing queue. Control has been passed from the regional ATC center to the airport.

    Landed: Wheels down and slowed to the point where the plane cannot abort and take off again. Plane has been assigned a taxiway and gate. Control passed to the tower ground controller.

    Depending on the airport, time of day, and the weather, Landing to Landed can take up to 20 minutes.

    Brother in law was an ATC for a long time.

    • Dsru Bin

      THank you! That was more information than I hoped to find!

  • Denton Young

    One is “approaching the ground” and one is “on the ground.”

  • This question leaves me feeling a little tense.

  • Andrew Garrard

    That might be a reasonable question – I’ve had to ask what exactly “bags arriving” meant at baggage claim when an item got lost (are there more coming? does this become something else once they’ve all arrived? am I looking at the previous flight’s baggage?)

    I’d not know whether the airport defined “landing” as “still in the air”, “on final approach”, “touched down” or “at the gate”, and whether “landed” actually meant “just hit the ground” or “all passengers have disembarked”. Pretty much nobody in the airport could answer my baggage claim question, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this one wasn’t obvious either.

    (Belatedly, thanks to TheLastHonestLawyer – if that categorisation is universal. I wrote the above yesterday and failed to hit “post”…)

  • Dsru Bin

    About 5 minutes.