Whether you are travelling for business or for pleasure, airports are an essential part of any trip abroad. Let us take you through the airport procedures step by step, while learning the most important words related to airports and flying.

Depending on the trip and the booking you made, you are allowed to have a small bag/backpack that you can take with you on board, which is called hand luggage (or carry-on), a large suitcase (checked luggage), or even both. Every airline company has its own rules regarding the size and weight of luggage, so you have to check them out before travelling.

Some of the most popular airline companies are the low-cost airlines or Low-Cost Carriers (LCC), because they have low ticket prices and fly with smaller aircrafts. One disadvantage of low-cost airlines is that they usually fly to secondary, less busy airports, which are generally farther away from the cities. The other airlines, which offer a wider range of services and fly to the main, larger airports are called Full-Service Carriers (FSC). Such examples include the Romanian company TAROM, British Airways or American Airlines.

When you arrive at the airport you must go to the departure terminal or, simply, the area called Departures. In the first hall of the terminal, you must find the departure board, a timetable that shows you the flights that are scheduled for the following hours, including the check-in desk where passengers must go for the check-in process.

Find your flight in the timetable and see if the check-in desk is OPEN. If it’s not, you have to wait until it shows up on the board. When it does, go to the check-in desk with your luggage and documents.


Right above the check-in desk there is a screen that shows the airline company that you are flying with, the flight number and the destination. You must have your documents ready, more precisely the passport (or ID card for travelling to EU countries) and the reservation number of your flight, either printed or in digital format.

This is the place where you leave the checked luggage, the one that goes in the airplane’s cargo hold and that you will receive at your destination. Your suitcase is weighed to make sure it does not exceed 23 kg (50 pounds). Then, a tag is attached to it, meaning a small strip of paper that contains the flight number, a barcode and the destination.

Then, you receive the boarding pass, a document which contains information about your trip: your name, your flight number, seat number on the plane, departure and arrival time, gate number and destination. You need the boarding pass to board the airplane.


After the check-in process, passengers must go through security check, where they go through metal detectors and their hand luggage is scanned for potential weapons or harmful items. Before going through the metal detectors, take off any metal jewelry or accessories you may wear and take out all the metal objects in your pockets. Place them on the special trays, next to your hand luggage. Sometimes you may be required to take off your shoes or to undergo extra safety checks (a security agent might use special paper to check your hands for various chemicals/drugs). These are some of the requirements that you may hear:

  • Take off your shoes, please! Now you may walk through the gate.
  • Show me your palms, please!
  • Leave your bag on the tray, please!
  • Take out your laptop from the bag and put it in the tray, please!

If you are not sure what to do next simply ask using May:

  • May I put my luggage here?
  • May I take my luggage now?

After your bag goes through the metal detector too, you can take back all your items and go to the next stage.


This is the third procedure you have to go through, where an Immigrations officer checks your documents manually or you scan them yourself at a machine. To make the process easier, open your passport at the photo page and take off your sunglasses or hat.

After your documents are checked, you will be directed to the departure lounge, where you will find all the gates where the boarding takes place. This is the area where all the airport facilities are: restaurants, duty-free shops, cafes, toilets, cash machines. Toilets and gates signs are usually brightly colored so they can be seen easily.

Go to the gate number written on your boarding pass and wait for the boarding to begin. You will find information about your flight on big screens around the gate. If the boarding process doesn’t start at the expected time, it means there is a delay. If you are not sure whether you are waiting at the right gate, you can always ask the staff at the gate desk:

  • Excuse me, is this the right gate for flight number… ?
  • Excuse me, could you tell me if there are any delays?

When boarding starts, the airline staff will check your boarding pass. Make sure you have it at hand (Your boarding pass, please!). When you get on board, a flight attendant will greet you. They are the people that take care of passengers and make sure everybody is safe.

Autor: Ana-Maria Păun, Senior English Trainer, Centrul de Limbi Străine A_BEST

Ana-Maria Păun este absolventă a Facultății de Limbi și Literaturi Străine, specializarea Limba și Literatura Rusă – Limba și Literatura Engleză, și a masterului specializat în traducere din limba rusă intitulat Limba Rusă Aplicată – Tehnici de traducere. Ana-Maria deține atestatul lingvistic Cambridge Advanced, precum și un certificat de traducător pentru limba engleză, în domeniile literatură și medicină-farmacie.

Ana este pasionată de studiul și predarea limbilor străine și s-a implicat de-a lungul timpului în numeroase proiecte ca traducător voluntar, cu precădere în domeniul educației. Firea calmă, adaptabilitatea și răbdarea Anei fac din cursurile de limba engleză un mediu plăcut, unde cursanții capătă încredere în propriile forțe și își perfecționează abilitățile. Cursurile Anei sunt dinamice, având la bază activități interactive și tematici variate, relevante și actuale.