Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Getting boarded!

Two weeks ago, I wrote about travelling back to the UK for a whistle-stop 24-hour trip, which had got me thinking about all that travel vocabulary. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that this is a big topic and I might not even get it all covered today. But let’s start!

I mentioned I was not a fan of flying these days. What about you? There’s just something about the knowledge that you are stuck in a metal “can” cruising along at 30,000 feet with a hundred or more other people and the only thing that’s keeping you up there is the speed and a bit of air under the wings! This non-engineering girl just can’t seem to get her head around that and is amazed, and ever so slightly terrified, by the wonder of physics.

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, at the airport where it can be tiring to get through the whole procedure of actually getting on a plane. I’ve reminded you before that at most airports, all the signs and announcements are made in the native language as well as English so this can be a good opportunity for you to get reading or listening. But it’s interesting that when we do a travel vocabulary test, so many students have not really registered this. You have to actively engage with the other language in order to see it or hear it.

It all starts with getting to the airport. Do you need to drive to the departures for drop-off or are you collecting from arrivals? Then you need to park in the appropriate, horribly expensive car park. Do you pick the one nearest the terminal for short-term parking where you have to take a mortgage to afford the hourly rate? Or will you choose one of the long-term car parks where you have to get the sky train, the shuttle bus or a long walk to reach the terminal? Don’t forget to check which terminal you have to get to so that you don’t waste time desperately trying to get to the correct one with your boarding time looming! (Personal experience from Barcelona airport!).

Once you finally arrive in the building, you might need to check in. These days, this seems to be carried out mostly on self-check in terminals (yes a double use of that word here) and then you still have to queue up to hand in your luggage. Make sure your suitcase or bag isn’t too heavy or there’ll be a surcharge to pay if you can’t reduce the weight by transferring things to your hand luggage, your travel companions bags or the bin (again, personal Barcelona experience!)

Once you’ve got rid of your bags and have the correct boarding pass, it’s time to brave the security check where it feels like you have to strip to your underwear to get through the metal detector without it beeping. Or again, is that just me? It seems that whenever I ask if I should take my shoes off and am told “no”, then I go through only to have the machine beep and to be told to take my shoes off! Quite annoying. Don’t forget to take out electronics and place them in the bin separately (another word with a double use - bin) Take off your jacket, coat, scarf, hat, belt and place them in another bin to go through the x-ray machine. Make sure you don’t have anything in your pockets – I was recently told off for having a tissue in my pocket and that my jumper was the reason the scanner couldn’t scan me properly!

And of course, the little plastic bag to have your mini toiletry bottles. Is it the right bag, the right size, fully closed, everything in it? I’ve had my bag go through with no problems at all at Düsseldorf only to be told in Birmingham that it’s the wrong size or that something does or doesn’t belong in it when it is identical! It can be a bit frustrating because it feels like they make up the rules as they go along!

But it’s always best to be friendly and helpful, as I really don’t think I want that job! All the people trying to make out that they had no idea that shampoo is really a liquid and the 500ml bottle left in their trolley is against the safety rules of nothing more than 100ml that have been in place for over 15 years now! I often find myself rolling my eyes. But then, is mascara or lip-gloss a liquid? Should it be squashed into my little bag or is it ok in my make-up bag? My motto: if in doubt, put it in the bag – or better still, in the suitcase so you don’t even have to have the discussion with the security staff at the overcrowded checks.

Once you’ve reached the other side of security, I often feel like I’ve had a session at the gym. It’s exhausting and my journey has only just begun.

Wow, this episode is already pretty long so I’ll write more on the airport experience soon!


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime

Episode 78: Talking Tenners

Episode 79: Do you need anything from the Hight Street?

Episode 80: Just another few minutes!

Episode 81: Counting the cards on my shelf.

Episode 82: What sign are you?

Episode 83: Great if you have a sweet tooth

Episode 84: It's an acquired taste!

Episode 85: New Year's Resolutions

Episode 86: Quick Tip of the week - go/come & take/bring

Episode 87: My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose

Episode 88: Once in a blue moon

Episode 89: Learning by Listening - part 1

Episode 90: Learning by Listening - part 2

Episode 91: This is the travel news!

Episode 92: The "Beast from the East" hits Western Europe!

Episode 93: The flu hits Lisa's Week

Episode 94: Spring forward and fall back

Episode 95: Holy Week

Episode 96: Quick Tip of the Week - prepositons of time

Episode 97: Perfect for dunking!

Episode 98: Part of the family

Episode 99: It's a boy!

Episode 100: Happy Anniversary to me!

Episode 101: To all the mothers out there

Episode 102: Up, up and away

Episode 103: A very British affair!