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At The Airport ESL Vocabulary

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Airport vocabulary is necessary when ESL students travel and it can also lend itself to fun classroom activities. This lesson offers some basic airport vocabulary and some engaging activities for your ESL students.

Make It as Real as Possible

Airports may seem far away from daily life but you can 'bring' an airport to class by referring to real-life experiences. To begin, ask your ESL students about the last time they were at an airport. To be realistic, many of our ESL students might have never been at an airport. If students in your class do not have airport experiences, they can talk about a movie they saw with a scene at an airport.

After your class discusses airport experiences, it's time for vocabulary introduction, actual vocabulary and follow-up activities. Let's take a look at these elements.

Vocabulary Introduction

Rather than just presenting a vocabulary list, you could elicit vocabulary from students by asking them what words come to mind when they think of airports. This gives your ESL students the opportunity to tell what they already know.

Next, you would introduce the airport vocabulary you prepared for the lesson. A great way to show students new words is with visuals you can easily get from the internet. Now, let's take a look at airport vocabulary that would benefit your ESL students.

Airport Vocabulary

One idea for teaching your ESL students airport vocabulary is to point at the part of speech for each word. So, when you introduce the term check in, you would tell your students this is a verb and sometimes a noun. You can give examples of sentences to illustrate this point. For example:

  • Check in as a verb: I need to check in as quickly as possible.
  • Check in as a noun: The check in line is really long.

You can use sentences like these to illustrate the meaning of airport vocabulary as you show images. This way, your students get the image, pronunciation and meaning of each word. You nail three aspects of vocabulary at once.

Here is a list of the most useful airport vocabulary:

  • Airline
  • Passenger
  • Airline employee
  • Check in
  • Check in line
  • Check in counter
  • Destination
  • Timetable
  • Flight number
  • On time
  • Delayed
  • Cancelled
  • Boarding
  • Baggage / luggage
  • Oversized baggage / luggage
  • Oversized baggage / luggage fee
  • Baggage / luggage cart
  • Conveyor belt
  • Baggage claim
  • Carry-on baggage / luggage
  • Suitcase
  • Ticket(s)
  • One-way ticket
  • Passport or ID
  • Boarding pass
  • Gate(s)
  • Security gates
  • Screening
  • Metal detector
  • X-ray screener
  • Exit
  • Emergency exit
  • Customs
  • Customs form
  • Immigration
  • Immigration officer
  • Visa
  • Departures gate
  • Arrivals gate
  • Boarding time
  • Transit area
  • Duty free
  • Exchange
  • Rental car

Follow-up Activities

Your students can practice using the airport vocabulary presented through different types of activities such as:

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