There are many ways to start a conversationstart a conversation in English. Others prefer to start with a joke, while others prefer to open with an anecdote. Then, there are those who prefer to start by asking a question. However, when a specific venue comes into play, sometimes starting a conversation may be a little bit complicated.
For frequent travelers, starting a conversation is just like taking a walk in the park. Especially for those who prefer to travel alone. But the same thing cannot be said for first-time travelers who are non-native English speakers. In this article, we are going to provide you with some ways to start a conversation in English while at the airport.
STARTING A CONVERSATION IN ENGLISH TO ASK FOR GENERAL INFORMATION
If you need to ask for information, the following scenarios will show you how you can go about it.
Here in this first scenario, notice how a tourist asks for directions.
Tourist: Excuse me, where is the check-in counter for United Airlines?
Airport Employee: You have to go back to terminal 1.
Tourist: I see. May I ask what terminal I am in?
Airport Employee: You are currently in terminal 2.
Tourist: Oh, I see. Is there some kind of shuttle that I can ride to go there? It is quite far from here.
Airport Employee: Yes, you can wait for one right here.
Tourist: Thank you very much!
Knowing how to ask for directions properly may be considered a skill. In fact, it is one of the first things you will have to do as a tourist. Therefore, here are some things to keep in mind if you need to ask directions.
Always greet the person. Start your conversation by greeting the person first. After all, you are ore likely to receive a nice explanation if you open with a simple “Hi” or “Hello”.
Be polite. Since you need something, always be polite. In starting a conversation in English, words such as “please”, “may”, and “pardon” show politeness.
Interrogative adverbs are your friends. These following adverbs are used to ask questions: why, where, how, when. For example:
How do I get to the church?
Where is the bus station?
When does the train to the city leave?
In this exchange, see how these interrogative adverbs are used to ask for directions.
Tourist: Good morning! I as wondering if you could tell me how to get to the subway from here? This is my first time here.
Local: Hello there. Do you have a map with you?
Tourist: I am sorry. No, I do not.
Local: That is okay. Hmm… To reach the subway from here, all you have to do is to walk straight ahead. Then, once you see the bakery beside the meat shop, turn left. Once you reach the end, turn right. Walk a few meters and you will find the subway entrance.
Tourist: I see. Thank you so much for your help.
Local: You are welcome.
STARTING A CONVERSATION IN ENGLISH TO ASK ABOUT FLIGHT INFORMATION
Firstly, in this scenario, the tourist asks for information regarding flight tickets.
Tourist: Hi, I am flying to New York, USA.
Check-in Employee: Okay, may I please see your ticket and passport?
Tourist: Alright. Here is my passport, and my e-ticket.
Check-in Employee: Thank you very much. Would you like a window seat?
Tourist: As long as it is close to the front. I tend to get motion sickness.
Check-in Employee: I see. I have given you a window seat close to the wing. Plane will depart in forty-five minutes.
Tourist: That is fine. Thank you very much.
In this next exchange, the customer likes to book a ticket.
Customer: Hello, I would like to book a ticket to Arizona please.
Agent: Alright. Would you like a round trip or a one-way ticket?
Customer: I would like a premium economy round trip ticket. I would like to leave by August 19 and return by September 15.
Agent: Okay. So, to repeat what you have said, you want to depart on the nineteenth and return by September 15. Correct?
Agent: Got it. And which class would you like to fly?
Customer: Premium economy.
Since most ticketing inquiries are made over the phone, it is difficult to check your attitude. Just remember, always be polite and respectful whenever you have to speak to people you do not know.
Meanwhile, in this exchange, the customer is trying to buy an emergency ticket.
Customer: Hello, is it possible to buy a ticket for a flight today? I just received a call regarding an emergency and I have to leave today.
Ticketing Agent: Yes. You may purchase a ticket here.
Customer: I need a ticket to New Jersey, please. Could you please give me your earliest flight?
Ticketing Agent: Alright. I can get you on the 9:00 flight tonight, it will arrive at New Jersey by 12:00 AM.
Customer: That is fine by me, how much will it be?
Ticketing Agent: This ticket is $780.
Customer: Oh no. Do you have anything cheaper?
Ticketing Agent: I am sorry. But no, not on such short notice. That is the lowest price I can get you if you want to leave today.
Customer: I understand. I guess I have no other choice, then.
STARTING A CONVERSATION WITH A STRANGER
Once you have settled your flight details, the next thing you have to do is to wait for your flight to board. Although most airlines start boarding at least forty-five minutes before the flight leaves, some people prefer to come to the airport even earlier. This is so they could avoid any unexpected problem, or readily solve those that may occur. If you are one of the early birds who loves to spend time getting to know people, here are some great ways to start a conversation in English.
As mentioned earlier, there are quite a few ways to start a conversation. Firstly, you can open with a question.
Hi! Do you happen to have the time?
Are you waiting for your boarding time, too?
So, where are you flying to?
On the other hand, you may also start with a joke. Believe it or not, a corny joke will more likely get you a reaction rather than a smart joke. Here are some jokes to help you out.
Hey there. Wanna hear a joke? What do you call a fish without eyes? (Answer: Fsh.)
Do you know what is used to light up a soccer stadium? (Answer: A soccer match.)
Then finally, you can always try to open a conversation with an anecdote.
Meanwhile, if you want to learn more stuff like this, do not forget to check out our course on Travel English. Enroll now, only at MainEnglish.com!