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Survival English – At the Airport

Survival English – At the Airport

Survival English – At the Airport

By Analiz Guzman, Oct. 2019


Traveling can be intimidating. Going to the airport can be especially daunting for English learners. Even with a basic understanding of English, it can be difficult to understand all the chatter going on in loud airports. Even native speakers can get lost or confused with all the questions and conversations that are buzzing around at the same time within those terminals! It can be fun, but stressful to practice your English during these times. Using the right words is crucial to ensure you board the correct flight and arrive safely to your destination. We hope to make it easier for our International F1 Visa holders when going through the airport with this resourceful list of common questions and problems encountered when checking in at the airport.


Questions to Ask:


There are so many questions one may need to ask when at an airport. Here’s a list to prepare you:


  • Where is the check-in counter?
    • This is the first question you will ask when arriving at the airport. Find the first airport employee you see and they will tell you what line at which counter you should be standing in. Make sure to have your ticket and travel documents with you!
  • Is my flight on time?
    • You will want to be sure you haven’t missed your flight. Make sure it’s on schedule. You might have some spare time to grab a snack before going on board!
  • How long is my flight delayed?
    • “Delayed” means late. It’s common lingo at the airport that means your flight is not going to arrive on time. If your flight is delayed, ask someone this question to find out how much time you have to kill before having to board your plane.
  • Where is the bathroom?
    • You may want to empty out your bladder before sitting on a plane for several hours. I know I would! If you find yourself wiggling from side to side doing the potty dance, ask this question to an employee nearby and they will be sure to point you in the right direction!
  • Where is the Internet lounge?
    • This is a great question for those who have some important business to take care of before boarding the plane. Or use the internet lounge to finalize some last minute booking confirmations with your hotel, hostel or Intensive English program – make sure your room and seat is reserved!
    • We also recommend using the Internet lounge to brush up on your English, especially to learn some Miami slang in advanced before arriving at your destination when studying abroad at JUST.Go – Languages!
  • Where is the smoker’s lounge/area?
    • If flying makes you tense, most airports have a smoker’s lounge or outdoor area that you can use to light a cigarette and take the edge off before going aboard your plane.
  • Can I get a window seat?
    • Ask this if you prefer a seat with a view of the sky.
  • Can I get an aisle seat?
    • Ask this if you prefer convenience and want to sit toward the aisle.
  • Where is the baggage claim?
    • When you’re ready to collect your luggage, ask this question.
  • When should I be at the departure gate?
    • Ask this question and be sure to be there on time or you’ll miss your flight! If you don’t know where to go when it’s time to board then ask:
  • Where is the departure gate?



Questions to Answer


At an airport, you don’t only seek information, you are also asked information. These are some common questions you may hear when checking in at the counter or boarding your plane. Be sure to read through them so that you’re prepared to understand and answer when being asked them at the airport!


  • May I see your ticket?
    • The employee may also simply just say, “ticket, please.” Make sure to have your ticket at-hand and ready to present to the employee.
  • What’s your purpose/reason for traveling?
    • The employee wants to know why you’re traveling. They want to know if it is for business, education or pleasure. If you are one of our International F1 Visa Students entering to start your Intensive English Program, then let them know that you’re here to study English!
  • Do you have a photo-ID?
    • The employee wants you to prove your identification. Show them your driver’s license and/or passport. They may also ask for your other travel documents.
  • Do you have a carry-on bag?
    • Let the airport staff know if you will be taking a carry-on bag with you. This is small luggage such as a purse, small suitcase or laptop bag that can easily fit in the overhead compartment above your seat.
  • Are you checking any bags?
    • If you have any larger bags that can’t be considered carry-on, the airline will store it under the plane for you instead of in the overhead compartment. Be sure to let them know if you have anything too big to carry-on and give it to them.
  • Do you require any special assistance?
    • If you need special assistance, such as a wheelchair, help carrying your bags or any other help be sure to let the airport staff know. They will be more than happy to assist you!
  • Did you pack these bags yourself?
  • Did you, at any time, leave your bag unattended?
    • Airport staff may want to know if you packed on your own or if you left your luggage by itself at any point. This is commonly asked to avoid any security risks because if you left your bag alone or if someone packed your bags for you, they could have put something dangerous in your bag without your knowledge. It’s very important that the airlines know what is inside your bag.
  • Are you traveling with any liquids?
    • The airport staff may ask this questions to ensure you’re following travel-size rules and to avoid any spillage so if you have any shampoo, deodorants, drinks or any other liquids, let them know!
  • Is there anything fragile in your bags?
    • Fragile means breakable! To avoid any accidents, such as cuts or other hazardous risks, the airport staff may want to know whether or not you’re carrying anything fragile so they can handle your luggage with care as needed.
  • What is your final destination?
    • The airport staff wants to make sure you’re heading the right direction. The answer to this one is easy for our International F1 Visa Students: Miami!


Common Problems


Often times, we come across issues when checking in at an airport. Here some common problems you might encounter when going through the airport to study abroad in Miami, Florida.


  • Your luggage/baggage is too heavy.
    • Uh-oh! It turns out that you’ve overpacked – time to make some cuts! If you hear this phrase, then you will have to remove some items and leave them behind to make your luggage lighter for travel.
  • Your carry-on bag is too large.
    • If an airport employee tells you this, then you will have to store your bag under the airplane because it is too big to fit in the overhead compartment.
  • Your flight is delayed.
    • You might as well get comfortable if you hear this phrase at an airport. Your plane is arriving late and you will have some time to kill at the airport as you wait for it to arrive.
  • Your passport has expired.
    • Expired means the date has passed so if you hear this at the airport, you need a new passport! If you planned your trip abroad accordingly, then you shouldn’t hear this phrase. Before planning a trip, make sure that all your travel documents are up to date!
  • Your ID (identification) has expired.
    • Make sure you take a current ID when boarding your flight to avoid running into this issue.
  • Your flight has been canceled.
    • Our travel plans don’t always go smoothly. If you hear this phrase while at the airport, you will need to book a new flight.
  • Your ticket has expired.
    • Oops! Did you check the date on your ticket? It turns out you missed your flight and you will have to purchase a new ticket.


Here are some important vocabulary words that any English learner may find helpful when going through the airport:


Arrival (noun): arrive.


Aisle seat (noun): the seat closest to the area that runs down the centre of the plane in-between the seats.


Departure (noun): leave.


Duty-free shop (noun): a shop in an airport where you do not have to pay tax.


Land (verb): Arrive – the plane stops flying and touches the ground on the runway.


Runway: (noun) the type of road planes use to take off.


Stop over (phrasal verb): to stay at a place for one night or a few nights on the way to somewhere else.


Take-off (noun / phrasal verb): to leave the ground and start to fly.


For more survival English tips, call us at +1 (305) 534-1255 or email us at



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