Pilots might lie, as I claimed in last week’s column. But so do flight attendants.

On the airplane, as in life, we often say one thing and mean another. It’s a time-honored tradition, and you need to be able to read between the lines.

Here’s a primer on flight attendant-speak:

What we say: “I recommend the short ribs today.”
What we mean: “We’re out of chicken.”

What we say: “The coats go in the overhead compartments.”
What we mean: “There are no closets.”

What we say: “The departure is on a decision.”
What we mean: “We’re not going anywhere!”

What we say: “This toilet is broken.”
What we mean: “Someone vomited or urinated all over the floor, and there is no way I’m cleaning it up.”

What we say: “The mechanics say that we have a delay of about twenty or thirty minutes.”
What we mean: “Count on at least two hours.”

What we say: “Yes sir, they could hold the next plane for connecting passengers.”
What we mean: “Don’t count on it.”

What we say: “I’m sorry you didn’t get your meal choice.”
What we mean: “Do you want to eat or not?”

What we say: “There is a bar set up in the back for all drink requests.”
What we mean: “Stop ringing that call bell and get it yourself once in a while.”

What we say: “You want me to hang up your coat? What seat are you in?”
What we mean: “You’re not from the economy section are you?”

What we say: “I’m sorry, we closed the alcohol bar about a half hour ago.”
What we mean: “Your drunk, and we’re cutting you off.”

What we say: “Yes, it’s mineral water.”
What we mean: “Tap water has minerals in it too.”

What we say: “We have a limited selection of magazines today.”
What we mean: “There is only Mustang Monthly left.”

What we say: “Ground agents will answer all of your connection and other questions when we land.”
What we mean: “We don’t have the foggiest notion.”

What we say: “Your child sure is an active one.”
What we mean: “Do you mind not letting your kid run around unattended?”

What we say: “Sure, it’s decaffeinated coffee.”
What we mean: “We only brew decaf on night flights.”

What we say: “We’re not allowed to give out our layover hotel information.”
What we mean: “Not interested.”

What we say: “I’m sorry but you’re not on Southwest Airlines.”
What we mean: “I’m really sorry you’re not on Southwest right now.”