Welcome aboard and welcome on board are two phrases that you might have heard when getting on a plane, train, or ship. You may have even been greeted with one of these phrases when joining a new company. But what’s the difference between welcome aboard and welcome on board, and which one is correct to use? Read on to find out!
The short answer is that they both have the same meaning and you can use them interchangeably. However, there are some subtle differences between the two phrases, because the words “aboard” and “on board” are grammatically different. Let’s take a look at welcome aboard vs welcome on board in more detail.
Welcome Aboard vs Welcome On Board
Welcome aboard and welcome on board can be considered synonymous. Both are polite and welcoming expressions that have two uses:
- They can be used to welcome you onto a vessel (a plane, train, or ship).
- In more recent times, they can be used to welcome a new employee to a company, or welcome somebody as part of a team.
The phrases likely originate from when people had to walk on a board (a wooden plank) to board a ship.
In the context of businesses welcoming new employees, the idea is that the company is a vessel traveling in a certain direction. When you join that company you become part of that journey and are welcomed on board.
However, there is a difference between the two phrases. One uses the word “aboard”, while the other uses “on board”.
The word “aboard” means on or into a plane, train, ship, or other vehicle and can be used as an adverb and/or preposition that describes the verb or a direction. For example;
“Please come aboard” (adverb)
“Is everyone aboard the ship?” (preposition)
“On board” means on, or into a plane, train, ship, or other vehicle.
The phrase “on board” is an idiom. However, it can be used as an adjective if we add a hyphen to make it “on-board”, or if we make it all one word as “onboard”. For example;
“The car’s on-board computer helps to monitor and adjust the engine to keep emissions low.”
“The onboard crew made sure that the passengers were safe.”
Therefore, in the context of “welcome on board”, we need to make sure that we always write “welcome on board”.
“Welcome aboard” is a phrase used as a friendly greeting when welcoming someone onto a plane, train, or ship. It is usually said by members of the crew when passengers are boarding a vessel. For example, when you board a cruise ship you might be greeted with something like; “Good morning and welcome aboard.”
While the phrase is often used in transportation contexts, you can also use it when welcoming someone to an organization or company. For example, “Congratulations you got the job, welcome aboard!”
However, “welcome aboard” is considered less formal than “welcome on board”. So, it’s more common to hear “welcome on board” in the workplace.
How to respond to welcome aboard?
When someone welcomes you aboard a vessel, a simple “thank you” should suffice in response. If you’re at work you might decide to expand on this. You can thank them and express your excitement at joining the team and/or company.
Welcome on board
“Welcome on board” is typically used when welcoming someone to an organization or company, and can equally apply when welcoming someone onto a plane, train, or ship. For example, an airline pilot could say “Welcome on board this flight to Madrid”.
It is considered to be a bit more formal than “welcome aboard”, which is why you might encounter it more at work.
For example, you might receive a welcome email when you join a new company that includes the phrase “welcome on board”. Or you might bump into your boss on your first day of work and he/she could say “I’m glad you decided to join us, welcome on board!”.
Nowadays, most employees will also go through what is known as an “onboarding” process. Onboarding is an HR (human resources) term, which refers to the process by which new employees are integrated into the business or organization. This can be done through training and learning about the organization’s procedures, structure, mission, culture, and values.
How to respond to welcome on board?
When you’re boarding a plane or a ship and are greeted with “welcome on board”, you can simply reply with a “thank you”.
If someone says it to you in the workplace, you can reply with something like; “Thank you, I’m glad to be part of the team.”
So, welcome aboard or welcome on board?
“Welcome aboard” and “welcome on board” mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably. You could use either phrase when welcoming someone onto a vessel. Both can also be used when welcoming somebody new to a business. However, “welcome on board” is considered to be slightly more formal than “welcome aboard”. It’s therefore more commonly used in a business context.