Vocabulary to get by at the German airport

Summertime is travel time. Whether you are going on vacation, visit family abroad, or want to learn a language in another country – airports are very crowded during the summer months. Even though we use many English terms at German airports, such as “arrivals”, “check-in” or “boarding”, it is good to know the most important German vocabulary.

Vocabulary around travel booking💻

Especially if you want to book a flight in Germany, German vocabulary can be helpful. Here is an overview:

•  Anschlussflug (Connecting flight) – If you want to travel to a distant destination, you may have to change from one flight to another. The second flight is called “Anschlussflug”.
•  Buchungsnummer (Booking Number) – The booking of the flight is the process where you determine your destination and purchase your airline ticket. Since most flights are booked online these days, you will need your “Buchungsnummer” as confirmation. In addition, if you have questions about your flight, you should have your booking number ready.
•  Direktflug (Direct flight) – A “Direktflug” is a flight from your point of departure directly to your destination. This means that you do not have to catch a connecting flight, but fly directly to your destination with only one aircraft.
•  Flugnummer (Flight number) – The “Flugnummer” is directly assigned to your flight. This number is used for orientation at the airport and is shown on the display boards. It is also useful when asking airport staff for information.
•  Reisepass (Passport) – The “Reisepass” is an important document that allows you to enter many other countries.
•  Visum (Visa) – If your passport is not sufficient, you must apply for an additional entry permit. This is called a “Visum”. In which destination countries you need an additional visa depends on your country of origin.

German terms at the airport🧳

You are at the airport in Germany and want to take off. Maybe one or the other German term will help you. We have put together some practical vocabulary for you:

•  Gepäckaufgabe / Gepäckausgabe (Baggage check-in / baggage claim) – At the “Gepäckaufgabe” you hand in all the luggage that is transported in the cargo hold of the plane. In other words, everything that you are not carrying with you during the flight. These are, for example, large suitcases or sports equipment. After landing, you get your luggage back at the “Gepäckausgabe”.
•  Freigepäck (Free baggage) – The “Freigepäck” is the baggage that you are allowed to take with you at no additional cost. 
•  Handgepäck (Hand luggage) – You are allowed to take your “Handgepäck” on board of the aircraft. This can be, for example, a backpack or small suitcase. The size of the allowed hand luggage depends on the booked fare and must fit in the baggage rack above the seats.
•  Flüssigkeitsrichtlinie (Liquids Policy) – The “Flüssigkeitsrichtlinie” applies internationally and refers to the liquids you are allowed to carry in your hand luggage. A maximum of 1 liter of liquid is allowed in total and a maximum of 100 ml per container.
•  Persönlicher Gegenstand (Personal item) – In addition to your hand luggage, you may also be allowed to take a personal item (“Persönlicher Gegenstand”) on board, also referred to as small hand luggage. This can be, for example, a handbag or laptop bag stowed under the front seat during the flight.
•  Sicherheitskontrolle (Security check) – You must go through the “Sicherheitskontrolle” to gain access to the gates. Here they check that you carry no illegal items. Therefore, you go through a security barrier and your luggage is scanned.
•  Übergepäck (Excess Baggage) – “Übergepäck” is baggage that is heavier than allowed. You have to pay extra for that because it is not included in the price of your ticket.
•  Zollkontrolle (Customs inspection) – When entering the country, you may be subject to an impromptu “Zollkontrolle”. This is a check to see if you have brought items from your trip that you did not declare or that are not allowed.    

Conversations on the plane✈️

During the flight you might have to communicate with the flight attendants from time to time. These vocabulary words can help you:

•  Bordunterhaltung (In-flight entertainment) – Entertainment on the flight is called “Bordunterhaltung”. On longer flights there are movies, music and games to help you pass time.
•  Bordverpflegung (Onboard catering) – If you want something to eat or drink, you order something from the flight attendants. This is called “Bordverpflegung”. How much service you get depends on the airline, the class you booked your flight in and the length of the flight.
•  Flugbegleitung (Flight Attendant) – The “Flugbegleitung” is also known as Steward/Stewardess. They take care of you during the flight. If you have a question or need anything, you can contact the flight attendant.
•  Fensterplatz (Window Seat) – “Fensterplatz” means that your seat is by the window and you can enjoy the view during the flight.
•  Mittelplatz (Center seat) – If you choose a “Mittelplatz”, you will sit in the middle between two other seats.
•  Gangplatz (Aisle seat) – “Gangplatz” is located directly on the aisle.

Prepared for your next trip✔️

With the vocabulary presented above, you will be prepared for your next trip: You can easily book your flight, find your way around the airport in Germany and communicate with the flight attendants during the flight.

Would you like to improve your German even further? We offer face-to-face courses at five locations throughout Germany. You also have the option to visit one of our online courses.