Wondering about the definition of holding pen? Keep reading to learn the meaning of holding pen, see some examples, and get a better understanding of this travel glossary term!
What is a Holding Pen?
The holding pen is airport slang for the waiting area at an airport gate where passengers wait prior to boarding the aircraft.
The term holding pen probably comes from flight attendants using the similar, slightly contemptuous analogies to refer to passengers, such as gate lice and kettle class (cattle class).
More on Holding Pens
The actual definition of a holding pen is the place on a farm or at a warehouse where livestock is temporarily confined; it’s an enclosure or gated area meant to hold animals, possibly before slaughter. Though not so commonly used anymore, gate agents and flight attendants who might be annoyed with the passengers waiting at the gate might show their contempt and refer to the gate as a holding pen, implying the waiting-to-board passengers are livestock.
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