8 Airport questions you need to be able to answer in English

plane English in the airport

Do you want to travel internationally? If so, you’ll probably need to take a plane. As English is the international language of aviation, knowing how to talk about flying in English is an essential part of your travel experience. Here are eight English questions you will need to be able to answer if you want your next international trip to go smoothly.

Do you have an e-ticket or a paper ticket?

When you first get to the airport you will need to check in to let the airline know you are going to be boarding the flight. If you have an e-ticket, you only need to show a printed version of your booking confirmation and your identification. Some airlines let you check in online and pick up your boarding pass when you get to the airport. A paper ticket is a physical document. Just like a concert ticket, if you lose it, you have to buy another!

Are you checking in baggage or carrying on?

Your baggage is the things you’ve brought with you – suitcases, backpacks, boxes. If you have large items or lots of baggage, you need to check it in – that is, have it stored in the airplane’s cargo hold. Carry-on is the smaller bags you are allowed to take on the plane with you.

Would you like a window or aisle seat?

Think about which part of the plane is most comfortable to you. If you enjoy looking out the window then say you want a window seat. Or if you’d rather be free to get up and stretch your legs, tell them you’d like an aisle seat. If you would prefer to sit near the front or the back of the plane, let the staff know when you are checking in to see if they can find you your perfect seat.

May I see your boarding pass?

Your boarding pass is the document given to you when you check in at the airport which contains your seat number and departure gate information. You need it in order to pass through security and get on your flight.

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Which gate should I board from?

When it’s time to for your flight to depart, you need to know where to go to get on the plane. The gate is the area where you go to board the plane and go through a final security check.

Is my flight delayed or on-time?

If your flight is going to be late departing, you’ll hear that it has been delayed. On-time means your flight will leave as scheduled. If your flight is cancelled, you may be entitled to compensation – the airline might pay the cost of finding a new flight or give you some money to make up for any inconvenience caused.

Do you have anything to declare?

Before you leave the airport when you get to your destination you need to let the customs officials know if you are carrying anything that you might need to pay tax on. Check what you are allowed to bring with you into the country and if a customs official asks whether you have anything to declare you can say “Yes” if you are bringing anything that might be restricted or that you might need to pay tax on. If you don’t have anything to declare say “No” and carry on with your journey or allow the customs official to check your bag.

May I see your passport and travel documents?

When you go through immigration, the immigration officer will ask to see your passport and travel documents. This includes a visa, if you need to get one beforehand to enter the country and any immigration forms you need to complete if you do not need a visa to enter the country.

Now you know what questions to expect when you fly, it’s time to relax and enjoy the flight!

Do you want to learn more vocabulary related to travel? Check out the following articles:

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