Even if it’s not your first time flying to the US or any other English-speaking country, it can be difficult to understand the language and signage at the airport. Since we love to make our members lives easier, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular phrases used in US airports for you to learn English phrases quickly. Check out this list before you depart and you’ll be guaranteed to have a wonderful international trip!
Terminal：the building where your flight will arrive or depart from
Arrival Lobby: after exiting the baggage claim area, you enter the airport arrival lobby where you can find public transportation and meet up with your ride
Departure Lobby: where you would access the airline check-in counters and security
Gate Number: the gate from which you will board the plane
Boarding Pass: your flight ticket that you obtain at check-in
Check in Counter: where you can find airline crewmembers to process check-in
Mileage accrual: you can accumulate air mileage to be exchanged for upgraded services or a free flight.
Premium economy: The cabin that allows more seat space and better services than what you would get in the Economy cabin. You usually need to pay to upgrade to the premium economy cabin.
Security: where you need to get all yourself and your carry-on bags scanned for security purposes
Duty-Free Items: usually you can shop at Duty-Free stores after you get through security
Baggage，Luggage: you can use both words to describe the bags and suitcases you carries when traveling
Baggage allowance: the policy for the luggage you carry, including quantity, size and weight restrictions
Checked baggage: Bags that are checked in and stored on the plane for you by the airline Most airline companies accept 1-2 23kg checked bag for free per traveler.
- Example: I want to have my baggage checked in.
Baggage claim: the place you claim your checked bags. It is usually before the arrival lobby.
Carry-on bag/luggage: bags/luggage that you take on the plane with you.
Baggage Tag: a tag attached to your baggage with information such as your name and address, just in case your bags were lost or delayed.
Luggage Cart: the wheeled vehicle that you can use to carry your bags, usually you need to pay to get a cart in US airports so don’t forget to bring along some quarters.
Oversize/overweight baggage charges: the fee you have to pay when the weight of your bag exceeds the airline’s luggage policy
Tax-refund: the counter that you can apply to have taxes refunded, not available in all countries
Restroom/Bathroom: it’s not a room for taking rest or shower, but where you can find toilets.
Men’s，Gent’s，Gentlemen’s room: restroom for male
Women’s，Lady’s room: restroom for female
Occupied: if you see this word at the door of a restroom, it means the room is being utilized.
Vacant: if it’s on the door of a restroom, you can go ahead and use the facility
Words & phrases you must know ON an AIRPLANE
Where is my seat?
Where should I put my carry-on bag?
May I have a cup of tea/coffee/juice/water (with/without ice)?
Emergency exit: if you sit at the emergency exit row, please listen carefully to the guidance that crewmembers provide in case of emergency
Life jacket: the vest-like jacket that keeps you afloat in water in emergency situations
Aisle seat: a seat at either side of the walking aisle
Window seat: a seat by the window, if you don’t need to get up very often and are a fan of the bird’s-eye view, window seats are the best choice
Seat number: the seat number you’ve been assigned to, usually economy seats are arranged at the rear of the airplane.
Words/phrases you must know for Transiting
Flights with stopovers are usually cheaper than non-stop flights. As long as you master these sayings, transiting will be a piece of cake.
How long will we stop here?
Are there any duty-free shops?
I’m in transit to XXX. : The next city you are flying to.
How can I get to the connecting flight counter for XXX Airline?
Where is boarding gate for flight XXX?
Do I need to go through security again?
Should I check-in again?
Do I need to pick up my bag and check it in to my next flight?
What is the gate number?
Words at to know at Customs
Always be serious and respectful when talking with custom officers. No need to be nervous as long as you’re honest.
Immigration: where you’ll be inspected by immigration staff
Passport control: passport inspection
Quarantine: Inspection for quarantine
Residents: the line for people who live in the country
Non-residents: the line for people who do not live in the country
Customs declaration card : a form to be filled out on the plane, if the crew didn’t distribute it, ask for it and fill it out before getting through the custom
Conversations at Baggage Claim
If you cannot find the place to claim your luggage or it’s accidentally been delayed/lost, you should ask staff in airport.
Baggage claim: the place to pick up your checked luggage
Where can I get my baggage?
Claim tag: you might be asked for the claim tag before exiting baggage claiming area. That’s a receipt the airline will provide when you check in bags.
I couldn’t find my checked luggage, could you help me figure out where it is? Here is my claim tag.
How soon will I find out?