Flying is stressful! It doesn’t help that when we fly to another country, we are expected to explain why we have 150 ml. of shampoo or why we are coming to a country in a foreign language. Luckily, here are ten sentences which should help you when flying to anywhere in the world.
Where is gate/concourse A/B/C/D/E?
Airports are large and confusing mazes, but are necessary to navigate with timely precision and expertise. It is safe to say that some of us have been met with this point, where we find ourselves not knowing where a gate or concours is? Remember, you can simply ask one of the many staff around you. Most all airport staff will understand English well enough to be able to tell you where to go.
Excuse me. Pardon me. Please.
Imagine you work at the airport, and are surrounded every day by people who are rushing to fly away on vacation and will let nothing stop them on their way. Angry customers, disappointed travellers and a whole slew of other problems might lead to airport staff feeling down. That’s why when you approach anyone in an airport it is important to be polite, and always say “Excuse me” or “Pardon me” when starting to speak with someone. If you ask them for something, always add a please to the end of the sentence for niceness!
I have a connecting flight.
If you are at customs, and presented with very little time to get through, one of the first things you might say is, “Excuse me, I have a connecting flight,” as this will let the customs official know that you must be processed more quickly.
I am travelling for work/leisure.
A questions you are sure to be asked regardless where you are going is “Why are you here?” Or “Why did you come to …?”, the default answer for everyone should be “I am travelling for work/business.” Or “I am travelling for leisure/travel/vacation.”
I am staying with family. / I am staying at __________.
Customs is one of the most stressful endeavours a passenger might experience at the airport, but answering the questions should be easy. If you are flying to some place and staying with relatives or family, then you should simply say “I am staying with family at their home/condo/hotel in _________.” However, if you are staying at a hotel by yourself or with friends and colleagues, then you must prepare the name of the hotel in saying “I am staying at ___________.”
I have nothing to declare.
Most travellers do not travel with valuables in worth of 10,000 USD or above or other prohibited substances, so, to save you time at customs, you can simply say, “I have nothing to declare.” This means that you have no prohibited items on or about your person which are controlled and regulated by customs of the country of arrival. If you do have controlled or regulated substances, DO NOT LIE, as the fees and jail times are very severe for lying.
Where is the currency exchange?
Money, money, money—it seems to be the most important thing for anyone’s journey abroad, but how do we find the small little kiosks which help us change our money into our destination’s local currency? Quite simple, simply using the “Where is….” You can say, “Where is the currency exchange?” and watch as the listener points you in the right direction.
Do you have an airport map?
We know already that airports come in many sizes, but what about the very large ones, like Dubai, or Suvarnabhumi. If you find yourself in a foreign country surrounded by signs in English and the other languages, a map can become your best friend.
Where is the restroom?
Believe it or not, we do not actually say “Where is the toilet?” in English as a toilet is a very unpleasant and personal image for the listener. The best way to find directions for the special room is to simply ask someone using the word restroom or bathroom.
I would like…
This is a master pattern of sentences, which can be used to ask for anything and everything. You could ask for water, juice, coffee, the bathroom, a pillow, or even a blanket with these magical words, simply by saying “I would like…” + the thing you would like.