Travel English: Conversations in the Airport

Travel English: Conversations in the Airport

Imagine you are traveling from Buenos Aires to Toronto. Here are four conversations you might have during your trip:

Conversation #1 – At the check-in desk

Agent: Good morning! Where are you flying to today?

You: Toronto.

Agent: May I have your passport, please?

You: Here you go.

Agent: Any bags to check?

You: Yes – two.

Agent: Please place your luggage on the scale.

You: I have a stopover in Mexico City – will I need to pick up my luggage there, or will it go straight through to Toronto?

Agent: It’ll go straight through. Here are your boarding passes – your flight leaves from gate 15A and it’ll begin boarding at 12:45. Your seat number is 32D.

You: Thanks.

Agent: Have a nice flight!

Common phrases and vocabulary words:

  • Here you go – you say this when you give something to somebody
  • To check your bags means to put them on the airplane in the cargo compartment. The small bag you take with you on the airplane is called a carry-on. You need to put your carry-on bags through the X-ray machine at security.
  • The scale is the equipment that tells you the weight of your luggage (45 kg., for example)
  • A stopover or layover is when the airplane stops in a different city before continuing to the final destination
  • If your luggage goes straight through, it means it will go directly to the final destination (you don’t need to pick it up during your stopover)
  • Boarding passes are the tickets that permit you to enter the airplane
  • When a plane begins boarding, it means that the passengers start to enter the plane. Usually boarding time is 30-60 minutes before takeoff (when the plane leaves)

Conversation#2 – Missed connection :-(

You: Excuse me, is this the gate for flight 1388 to Toronto?

Agent: I’m sorry, but the flight left just a couple minutes ago.

You: Oh no! What should I do?

Agent: Go to the Global Airlines check-in desk and ask them to put you on the next available flight.

(at the check-in desk)

You: Hi. My flight from Buenos Aires was delayed and I missed my connection to Toronto. When’s the next available flight?

Agent: Let me see… unfortunately, the 7:20 flight is full, but I can get you on one at 10:10.

You: That’ll be fine.

Agent: Your passport, please… would you like a window or an aisle seat?

You: A window seat.

Agent: All right – you’ll be departing from gate 28B in Terminal 4, and your seat number is 5A.

You: Thanks!

Common phrases and vocabulary words:

  • The gate is the place in the airport where you go to enter the plane
  • A couple minutes ago means 2 or 3 minutes in the past
  • You can say “What should I do?” to ask for advice, suggestions, or help with a problem
  • In English we say you missed the flight or connection, not “lost” the flight or connection
  • You can say “Let me see” when you need a moment to think or to find information
  • An aisle seat is located next to the corridor. Pronunciation tip: The “s” in “aisle” is silent!

Conversation #3 – Lost Luggage :-( :-(

You: I think my luggage is lost – I’ve been waiting at the baggage claim for over an hour and it hasn’t come out yet.

Agent: What’s your flight number?

You: Well, I was supposed to come in on flight 1388 from Buenos Aires via Mexico City, but I missed the connection, so I ended up on flight 973 instead.

Agent: OK – can you describe your luggage?

You: There’s one black suitcase with wheels, and one dark blue duffel bag. Both have tags with my name on them.

Agent: Please fill out this form with the name and address of your hotel as well as your contact information, and we’ll get in touch as soon as we find your luggage. I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience.

Common phrases and vocabulary words:

  • The baggage claim is the place where you pick up your luggage after arriving in the destination airport
  • End up is a phrasal verb used to talk about the final result of a situation (especially if the result was different from what was expected or planned)
  • Luggage is the general name for the bags you bring while traveling. The picture on the left is a suitcase, and the picture on the right is a duffel bag.

Travel English Conversation - Suitcase and Duffel Bag
A brown suitcase, and a green and black duffel bag

Conversation #4 – Immigration

Agent: Where are you coming from?

You: Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Agent: What is the purpose of your visit?

You: Tourism.

Agent: Have you ever been to Canada before?

You: No, this is my first time.

Agent: How long are you planning to stay?

You: Two weeks.

Agent: Where will you be staying?

You: At the Grand Hotel in Toronto.

Agent: Welcome to Canada – enjoy your visit.

Other possible answers to the questions:

What is the purpose of your visit?

  • Business.
  • I’m here for a conference.
  • I’m doing a study abroad program.
  • I’m visiting some friends.

Have you ever been to Canada before?

  • Yes, last year.
  • Yes, twice.
  • Yes, several times.

How long are you planning to stay?

  • Five days.
  • Six weeks.
  • Three months.

Where will you be staying?

  • At Ontario University.
  • With a homestay family – here’s their address.
  • With my cousin. She lives on Queen Street in Toronto.

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