Beginner Dialogs - At the Airport

Airport Terminal
Airport Terminal. Julie Margetson / Eyeem / Getty Images

You can expect polite questions when checking-in, going through customs, and boarding plans at the airport. Private questions are asked with 'can' and 'may'. Study vocabulary related to travel to help you prepare you for speaking English in airports.  Practice these basic English dialogues with a partner. Remember to always be polite in airports especially when speaking to customs officials and security officers.

Finally, some countries ask you to declare presents and other items you have bought in other countries when you return home. If you are a student or plan to stay in the country a long time, you'll also need to have a visa for entrance into most countries. 

Important Questions at Check-in

Expect these questions when checking in at an airport:

Can I have your ticket, please?
May I see your passport, please?
Would you like a window or an aisle seat?
Do you have any baggage?
What is your final destination?
Would you like to upgrade to business / first class?
Do you need any help getting to the gate?

Check-in Practice Dialog

Passenger Service Agent: Good morning. Can I have your ticket, please?
Passenger: Here you are.
Passenger Service Agent: Would you like a window or an aisle seat?
Passenger: An aisle seat, please.
Passenger Service Agent: Do you have any baggage?
Passenger: Yes, this suitcase and this carry-on bag.

Passenger Service Agent: Here's your boarding pass. Have a nice flight.
Passenger: Thank you.

Going through Security

After you've checked in, you'll need to go through airport security. It's important to follow instructions carefully and understand these requests:

Please step through the scanner. - Asked when passing through metal detectors at the airport.

Please step to the side. - Asked if a security officer needs to ask further questions.
Please raise your arms to the side. - Asked when inside a scanner.
Empty your pockets, please.
Please take off your shoes and belt.
Please take any electronic devices out of your bag.

Security Practice Dialog

Security officer: Next!
Passenger: Here's my ticket.
Security officer: Please step through the scanner.
Passenger: (beep, beep, beep) What's wrong?!
Security officer: Please step to the side.
Passenger: Certainly.
Security officer: Do you have any coins in your pocket?
Passenger: No, but I have some keys.
Security officer: Ah, that's the problem. Put your keys in this bin and walk through the scanner again.
Passenger: Okay.
Security officer: Excellent. No problem. Remember to unload your pockets before you go through security next time.
Passenger: I'll do that. Thank you.
Security officer: Have a nice day.

Passport Control and Customs 

If you take an international flight, you'll have to pass through passport control and customs. Here are some of the most common questions you can expect:

Can I see your passport?
Are you a tourist or on business? - Asked at customs to find out the purpose of your visit.
Do you have anything to declare?

- Sometimes people need to declare things they have bought in other countries.
Have you brought any food into the country? - Some countries do not allow certain foods to be brought into the country.

Passport Control and Customs Dialogs

Passport official: Good morning. Can I see your passport?
Passenger: Here you are.
Passport official: Thank you very much. Are you a tourist or on business?
Passenger: I'm a tourist.
Passport official: That's fine. Have a pleasant stay.
Passenger: Thank you.

Customs official: Good morning. Do you have anything to declare?
Passenger: I'm not sure. I have two bottles of whiskey. Do I need to declare that?
Customs official: No, you can have up to three liters.
Passenger: Great.
Customs official: Have you brought any food into the country?
Passenger: Just some cheese I bought in France.

Customs official: I'm afraid I'll have to take that.
Passenger: Why? It's just some cheese.
Customs official: Unfortunately, you are not allowed to bring cheese into the country. I'm sorry.
Passenger: That's strange! Oh well. Here you are.
Customs official: Thank you. Anything else?
Passenger: I bought a t-shirt for my daughter.
Customs official: That's fine. Have a nice day.
Passenger: You, too.

Vocabulary Check Quiz

Provide a word from the dialogues to fill in the gaps. 

  1. Could I please see your __________ before you get on the airplane?
  2. Please put your keys in the ________ and walk through the _________.
  3. Do you have any __________?
  4. Can I see your ___________? Are you a __________ or on business?
  5. Do you have anything to _____________? Any presents or alcohol? 
  6. Please ________ to the side and empty your pockets.
  7. Would you like smoking or __________?
  8. Would your prefer an __________ seat or a ___________?
  9. I have one suitcase and a _______________.
  10. Have a nice _______.


  1. boarding pass
  2. bin / scanner
  3. baggage / luggage / bags
  4. passport / tourist
  5. declare
  6. step
  7. non-smoking
  8. aisle / window
  9. carry-on bag
  10. flight / trip / day