Lisa's week

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Lisa's week: Touch down!

111 Touch down

I started my series of posts about flying to the UK some time ago now and didn’t realise that I’d have so much to say. But as I’ve written it, breaking it down into arriving at the airport, getting through security, boarding the plane and taking off, I’ve come to realise just how much goes into what seems like a simple hop, skip and a jump across the water on a flight home to Birmingham! Not to mention how much more complicated it is if you are flying somewhere such as the US where additional security checks are taken and immigration forms must be completed before landing.

I’ve said it before and I’d just like to remind you again that if you are flying on a scheduled flight to almost all destinations, there can be a lot of English to discover and learn from as most announcements are made in English as well as the “home” language. Most of the airports I’ve been to also have signs in English and if you are travelling to an English language destination, you probably won’t find any other language at all! So try to make the most of this opportunity and keep your eyes and ears open to pick up some new phrases or vocabulary to ease your own travel experience.

The last time we spoke, I was flying high above the clouds on a short trip home, taking in the view down below.

If you’re on a longer trip, you might be on a “red eye” flight which means that you’re travelling overnight and in this case, the blinds will be drawn down and the lights dimmed to help everyone try to catch a few minutes or hours of sleep. People naturally quieten down and it can be a very surreal experience to drift in and out of sleep, seeing the little map on the screen in front of you record the plane’s journey across the continent or ocean. Then just as suddenly, the plane will come to life as the cabin crew start moving through the plane serving breakfast and generally preparing us all for the coming arrival at our destination.

There is usually an announcement that the plane has started its descent and therefore, we should return to our seats, ensure our hand luggage is safely stowed away, fasten our seatbelts, return the seats to the upright position and secure the seat trays to prepare for landing. The destination airport comes into view and just as suddenly, you’ve landed to the horrible noise of the reverse thrust slowing the plane down.

It’s at this point that a flight assistant will welcome you to whichever airport you’ve arrived at and you will be asked to remain in your seats with your seatbelts fastened until the plane has reached its parking position and the engines have been turned off. Mobile phones should also not be turned on until this point. I often wonder if anyone listens or cares about this as you can already hear the buckles being unfastened on the seatbelts and the familiar beeping of the phones as networks are reconnected. Not to mention those who leap up and start rummaging though the overhead compartments for their bags so that they will be first off the plane – they must be very important people with things to do and people to see!

Once in the terminal building there will be a passport or immigration check for those countries outside the Schengen area although I’ve noticed an increase in digital passport scans which can make the process much, much quicker.

Don’t forget to look for which belt is connected to your flight if you have checked luggage to collect. I’m always surprised at the airports which are either horribly slow – so you feel like you’re waiting for hours for the belt to start and the clunk of suitcases being thrown on it indicating that hopefully your case will be coming soon, or incredibly fast – so that your case is already sitting there on the belt all alone, and waiting for you when you finally get through passport control and your quick visit to “powder your nose”. I sometimes wonder if my case was the only one checked in?!?

Now there’s just one final hurdle to cross – the red or green channel. Do you have “goods to declare” or not? No problem for travel within the EU but something to consider if you’re flying into or flying from a non-EU country. The customs officials might do spot checks and searches, or you might just want to make sure you don’t get into trouble by going through the red channel and declaring the goods over the duty free limit that you will need to pay tax on. Not knowing what the limits or restrictions are in a particular country is not an excuse and the customs officials know exactly what they are looking for! Best to be safe than sorry. I’m curious to see how the limits change on flights in and out of the UK after Brexit – but that’s a topic for another day I think!

Congratulations, you’ve arrived at your destination or maybe you’ve returned home.

Either way, I hope you had a pleasant trip and thank you for choosing Lisa’s Week for this journey through travel vocabulary!



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!

Episode 104: Getting boarded!

Episode 105: How do you say that?

Episode 106: Ready for departure?

Episode 107: Happy Father's Day

Episode 108: I'm leaving... on a jet plane... (Part 4)

Episode 109: Can football really come home?

Episode 110: A right royal christening