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Airport English

check inAirports are stressful even in your own native country. Practise these English phrases before you travel to English speaking destinations.

Tip: Print these and keep them as a “cheat sheet” in your carry-on luggage.

Questions you will hear at the check-in counter:
Ticket please.
May I see your ticket?
Do you have an e-ticket?
Do you have some photo ID?
How many bags are you checking?
Did you pack these bags yourself?
Do you have a carry-on bag? (a bag or purse to take on the airplane)
Do you require special assistance? (example a “wheelchair”)
Have you paid your airport improvement fee/tax?
Would you like a window or an aisle seat? (aisle is pronounced “eye + l”)

Problems you may hear:
Your baggage is overweight. (Remove some contents or pay a fine.)
Your carry-on luggage is too large.
Your flight is delayed. (It’s late.)
Your flight has been cancelled. (You must rebook a new flight)
Your connecting flight/connection has been cancelled/is delayed.
Your ticket is expired.
Your passport is expired.

airport screenCommands and questions at the Security Checkpoint:
Boarding pass, please.
ID please. (show your photo ID)
Spread your arms out please. (Put your arms up and out to the sides of your body)
Take your shoes off.
Open your bag.
Take off/remove your belt.
Do you have any change in your pockets?
Do you have any metals?
Do you have any food/produce?
Do you have any liquids or medicine?
Walk through.
You must dump all food or beverages. (You can’t bring it through the gates.)

Questions YOU may need to ask:
Is my flight on time?
When should I be at the gate?
Where is the boarding gate?
Where is the washroom?
Can I get a window seat?
Is there somewhere to eat?
Can I get a coffee at the gate?
Is my connection on time?
Where do I collect my baggage?
Where can I find a taxi?
Where is the departure gate?
Where is the arrival gate?
Where is the check-in desk for ….airlines?
Where is the domestics level?
Where is the international level?

More Airline Vocabulary
Practise Checking-in

cheat sheet: a small piece of paper with answers or hints that you have with you
departures: flights that are leaving this airport
arrivals: flights that are landing at this airport
e-ticket: a ticket you purchased online and printed from your computer
aisle seat: a seat next to the long walking path on the plane
boarding pass: the ticket you give at the gates (has your seat number)
belt: clothing item that holds up pants (sets off metal detector)
metals: items such as jewellery, coins, belt buckles, knives, keys
liquids: beverages
expired: no longer useful (the date has passed)
check-in: show your ticket and ID and hand in your baggage
connection: the point where your plane lands and you must catch another plane
domestic: in the same country as the airport
international: in a different country than the airport

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | October 2009
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.


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