May 08, 2008

#01-106: Taking a Flight - Part II: In Flight

exterior view of wide-body planes lined up at an airport terminal

Note: Once we get onto the plane there are still a few things to know--and then there's the arrival procedure! Learn what to do in this lesson.

Get Ready: Are you afraid of flying? What can a person who is afraid do to make her- or himself feel better?

In Lesson #01-105, we started talking about taking a flight on an airplane. When we stopped, we were almost through the security check.

When going through security, you must be careful: many countries restrict "LAG": Liquids, Aerosols, and Gels. It's best to put these in checked baggage, or not to carry them at all. Even water is sometimes prohibited. Also, lighters and matches usually are not allowed in carry-on bags (sorry, smokers). And of course, any items which might be used as weapons (sharp implements, etc.) are forbidden.

Once you are through security, go to your gate and wait in the waiting area. Listen carefully for the announcements and board the plane when called. Don't wait for the words, "This is the final boarding call..." You might miss your flight!

With more and more people flying, airports sometimes don't have enough regular gates, where the airplane is right next to the terminal, to serve their passengers' needs. So you may have to board a shuttle bus and be driven out to the plane on the tarmac (an old word for asphalt). In smaller airports you may even have to walk from the terminal! In that case, at the plane you'll climb some moveable stairs to board.

Inside the plane, look for your seat number (found on your boarding pass); these are usually marked on the overhead bins. A flight attendant may help you if you're not sure. Place your carry-on baggage in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

Rules about electronics are always changing. Be prepared for the crew on some flights to ask you to keep some electronics (such as mobile phones) off at all times, or just during take-off and landing. At certain times you may need to switch off some other items (like PCs).

Also during take-off and landing, all airlines ask you to keep your tray table closed, and your seat back in an upright position. During take-off, landing, and in-flight turbulence, you must remain seated with your seatbelt fastened and you may not use the lavatories.


If you had a special meal request, on some flights the crew will check with you before take-off: "Sir/Ma'am, did you request a special meal?" But sometimes, you will have to remind the flight attendants when they come around for meal service. They will ask you which meal you want (like "chicken or fish"), and you'll have to tell them you ordered a special meal.

Upon landing, you may again have to take a shuttle to the terminal, or you might walk directly out of the plane and into the terminal itself through a tube sometimes called a "jetway." If you checked in any baggage, you'll need to go to the baggage carousel to pick it up. In larger airports be sure to listen to the crew or to announcements for the correct carousel number with the bags from your flight. You may have to show your claim tag (often stuck to your boarding pass) before you can take your luggage away.

You are now in the Arrival Area. From here you'll need ground transportation (bus, taxi, etc.) to get you to your final destination.

I hope you had a good flight!


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its description below:

  1. baggage carousel
  2. carry-on baggage
  3. claim tag
  4. during take-off and landing
  5. electronics
  6. LAG
  7. lighters and matches
  8. moveable stairs
  9. seat number
  10. tarmac

  1. may need to be turned off at certain times; the rules may change
  2. usually prohibited in carry-on bags
  3. one way to board a plane
  4. must never be left in the aisle
  5. an old word for "asphalt"
  6. usually marked on the overhead bins
  7. may be needed for picking up baggage
  8. close your tray table, put your seat up straight, and fasten your seatbelt
  9. the place to pick up checked-in baggage
  10. things usually found in bottles
Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 8, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. d; 3. g; 4. h; 5. a; 6. j; 7. b; 8. c; 9. f; 10. e