Lightning alert

English: Lightning alert

French: Alerte de foudre

Here’s a preview of the French you can expect to learn in Module 5 of Canadian French for Flight Attendants.

As a flight attendant, you’ll definitely have flights that fly during stormy weather, especially in the summertime. Thunderstorms can cause delays and flight attendants need the vocabulary to communicate this information to passengers.

Planes are made to fly through thunderstorms and can fly fine even when struck by lightning. That being said, we still try to avoid flying through thunderstorms. Lightning strikes can cause structural damage to the plane that needs to be fixed before its next flight.

Furthermore, lightning near an airport can cause delays for ground operations. Airports have lightning detection systems and if they detect lightning strikes nearby, the airport authorities may declare a lightning alert, also called a red alert. During a red alert, ramp agents (and other personnel that work on the ramp) are not permitted to be outside, working beside large metal airplanes standing on rubber wheels, as there is a risk of them being struck by lightning. Similarly, during a thunderstorm, we learn that being inside a car is safe, but standing beside one is not. Lightning might be attracted to the metallic car, but it would have difficulty finding the ground through the rubber tires, thus jump to the person standing beside the car, and travel through the body to the ground, thereby electrocuting the person.

Therefore, during a lightning alert at an airport, ramp agents cannot be outside, and thus cannot park planes that have landed, cannot push planes back for departure, and cannot handle baggage.

If your plane lands during a lightning alert, you’ll have to wait on the ramp area until the alert is lifted, so that the ramp agents can come out to park your plane. Information must be relayed to the passengers during this delay. The lightning alert will last for however long the airport detects lightning. I’ve personally had one last for only a few minutes because we landed at the tail-end of the lightning alert in Montreal (YUL). I’ve also had one last about 3 hours in Edmonton (YEG) a few years ago.

Alerte (f)=Alert


Foudre (f)=Lightning

Incidentally, the word “foudre” can also be used in the masculine, with its meaning changing to “lightning bolt”.


Now available! Module 4 of Canadian French for Flight Attendants. Learn the French for:

-Less common food/drinks/special meals.

-Bag issues (bag won't fit/no more space).

-Announcements for mechanical problems, cancellations, airplane changes, diverting, etc.

-Delays because of fuel, catering, connection passengers, weather, etc.

-Tight/missed connections.

-And much, much more!

See full course description.


Flight Attendant Souvenirs. Souvenirs d’un agent de bord. United Arab Emirates, February 2020. This was a trip I took in February, shortly before the pandemic situation got worse all around the world. Dubai is known for its extravagance and the Dubai Frame near my hotel, was a relatively recent construction project, where visitors can go up for a panoramic view of the city. At night, the frame lights up.