Airport English

Do you want to learn English and travel the world?

Holidays and business trips are so much easier when you become fluent in English.

Airport English is a free vocabulary lesson by English Teacher Online that you can use for conversation practice too.

The lesson takes you from Bangkok to London via Dubai.

Before you Leave Home

Print-out your tickets, boarding pass and hotel reservations (bookings). Make sure you know your flight details and go to the check-in counter at the airport.

Q: Who are you flying with?

A: I am flying with (Emirates Airways).

Q: What is your flight number?

A: I am on flight (EM123).

Q: Where is the check-in counter?

A: Your check-in counter is (that way).

Check-in Counter at the Airport

When you first arrive at the airport, to catch your flight, you should go to the check-in counter. Look for your flight number on the “Check-In Information” board to see where your airline check-in counter is. As you get closer, you’ll see a flag or logo of the airline you’re flying with.

Q: What time is my flight?

A: Your flight departs at (01:00) from gate (B38)

Q: Do you want to check in any baggage?

A: Yes, I have one large suitcase and one carry-on.

The check-in counter is where you need to drop-off your checked bags and collect a boarding pass. The staff may also ask you questions about any carry-ons. During check-in, think about sending your checked baggage all the way from Bangkok to London by saying:

A: Please check my bags (through to London).

Checked luggage/baggage are the bags and suitcases that you give to the airline to place in the cargo section of the airplane before you board.

Most airlines have a baggage allowance, between 15-30 kg, to limit the weight of each bag. If your bags are overweight, you may be charged an excess baggage fee.

Luggage is British English. Baggage is American English.

Both words are correct collective nouns, describing your suitcases and bags. Always use the singular form.

Seating Preferences

The check-in staff will ask you where you want to sit on the plane.

Q: What’s your seating preference?

A: I am not sure. What seats do you have available?

Q: Would you like an aisle or window seat?

Aisle seats are located along the walkway (aisle) between the middle sections of the airplane.

Window seats are located next to the windows of the plane.

Middle seats are located between the aisle and window seats.

A: I would like a window seat please.

If you are extremely tall, you may want to request a seat with extra legroom (extra space for your legs). These seats are located near the emergency exits (doors) of the airplane.

A: I would like a seat with extra legroom please.

Boarding Pass and Carry-On Bags

Carry-ons are the bags you can carry on the plane with you.

Q: Do you have anything dangerous in your carry-on bag?

A: No, I’ve checked your website and everything is safe.

You will need a boarding pass (ticket) that allows you to get on the plane. Sometimes you can print your boarding pass at home, online.

Q: I’m sorry but I didn’t print my boarding pass earlier.

A: No problem. Here is your boarding pass. Please go to gate (B38)

On your boarding pass you will see a “gate number” (B38).

Q: Where is my gate (B38).

A: That way. Please follow the signs.

Duty Free Shops

On the way to boarding your plane, you’ll pass through duty free (tax-free or low-tax shopping) and food courts. This is your last chance to buy a magazine or snack before you get on the plane.

Q: Excuse me. How much is that (magazine)?

A: That’s 10 Dirham (Dubai currency equal to $2.70 or 100 Baht)

Boarding Your Plane

The boarding gate is the place (gate) where passengers go to board the airplane. There’s a departure lounge (waiting room) where you can sit before it’s time to board.

Q: May I see your boarding pass please?

A: [You only need to show your boarding pass – and smile]

BEWARE: Gates close 20 minutes before departure so DON’T be late!

Taking a Connecting Flight

If you change planes on the way to your destination, you are taking a connecting flight. This brief stop, to change planes is called a lay-over or stop-over. Bangkok – Dubai (stop-over) – London.

You will need a boarding pass for this second flight and may be asked for your seat preferences once more!

Sometimes you’ll need to collect your bags (Baggage reclaim) and check-in everything again! To save time, request to check your baggage all the way from Bangkok to London by saying something like, “Please check my bags through to London.”

Passing Through Customs

Customs can be the most stressful experience for travelers. This is where you have to explain why you have arrived in the country and tell custom officers what your intentions are. Don’t stress! Practice these phrases.

Q: Why have you come to the United Kingdom?

A1: I have a connecting flight. (If you’ve arrived in a country where you will not be staying, this is how you say you will be boarding another plane to go somewhere else.)

A2: I am traveling for pleasure / leisure. (If you’re traveling for fun or for vacation, use this phrase so the officer knows.)

A3: I am traveling for business / work. (If you’re traveling on behalf of your company or you are on business.)

Q: How long will you be here?

A: I will be here for (10) days. (Give the number of days you will be in the country. Never overstay your visa!)

Q: Where will you be staying?

A1: I am staying with / visiting family. (If you have family members at your destination, the customs officer will want to know. Make sure you have written down their name and address – the officer will probably ask!)

A2: I am staying at the (Ritz Hotel). (Have the name of your hotel ready.)

Taking a Taxi (expensive)

When you arrive in your English speaking destination, you’ll have to find your way from the airport to your hotel. You’ll probably need to use public transport such as a taxi, train or bus to get around the city.

TIP: Try to plan ahead of time. Know how to get to your destination!

Q: Where are the taxis please?

A: The taxi rank is over there. Follow the taxi sign!

Taxi “ranks” are places where taxis park and wait for customers.

TIP: Find a meter taxi. If you travel off-the-meter, it can be very expensive!

Q: I want to go to the Ritz Hotel please.

A: That will be £50 (Pounds).

Q: Will you do it on the meter please?

A: Alright guv. (British slang for yes sir.)

Save Money – Take A Bus

If you are feeling confident and want to save money, then try asking for directions.

Q1: Where is the bus stop / railway station please?

Q2: Excuse me. How do I get to the Rizt hotel?

Q3: What’s the easiest way to get to the hotel from Victoria Railway Station?

TIP: You could also Google this information before hand, so you know exactly where you’re going.

or Catch A Train

Q: What time is the next train to (Clapham Junction) please.

A: 10:25 on platform 3.

Q: One single ticket to Clapham Junction please.

A: £6 (Pounds) please.

TIP: If you want to use a bus or train to go and come back on the same day, then ask for a “return ticket.” Single tickets are just for “one-way travel.”

At Your Hotel – Checking-In

You probably made a hotel reservation (booking) online when you bought your flights. When you arrive at your hotel, all you need to do is tell the front desk staff.

A: Hello, I have a reservation under (your name and / or company).

Q: Do you have a reservation number?

They may ask for more information, like your reservation number to complete the registration process, before they give you a room number and key.

TIP: It’s always a good idea to print out all your documents before you travel. Batteries can run low on a long flight so don’t rely on electronic devices until you reach your room!

Practice your pronunciation (accent) with these phrases by booking me as your teacher.

Need extra help with travel. Please leave a comment or email: Steve@EnglishTeacherOnline.Org

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Author: Teacher Steve

Teacher Steve is 51 years old, happily married but has no children of his own. He's a fully qualified teacher who has been teaching English in sunny Thailand for over 15 years. Teacher Steve loves to write and decided to start English Teacher Online, in December 2016, to help students study English for free. He works tirelessly so that students can become fluent in English, empowering them to work and travel the world. You can also watch him teaching live at https://dlive.tv/Teacher_Steve?ref=teachersteve

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