You Are Now a PAX

In South-East Asia it is very common to see the word PAX in relation to a ‘person’. It means “people that are being catered to” whether in context of a passenger, guest, occupant, diner, etc. It is useful precisely because it can cover all those different cases, especially in the hospitality industry.

e.g.

  • Renting accommodation. max 5 pax
  • 4 pax for a spa
  • 3 pax for dinner
  • 200 pax for wedding

Apparently it was used as early as the 40s, and it became a standard term in the UK Passenger Transport industry in the 70s. From a bus company’s point of view it’s crucial to distinguish between Passengers (who pay the fare when boarding), and Passes (using a Season Ticket, or some other pre-paid authorisation to travel). The bus company needs to analyse Pax totals to ensure their buses aren’t being overloaded

The New Oxford American Dictionary now reports that it means “a person” or “persons” (the plural of pax is still pax).

So whereas originally pax was always travellers (live human bodies that need to be transported) it’s often now more generally applied to any “customers, people, bodies” occupying space (usually, seats or beds), who must be entertained, accommodated, fed, etc.

Do you like being referred to as a ‘PAX’?

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