Hello, we have an English vocabulary lesson for you today. At the end of this lesson, you should have a solid grasp of the English language used when travelling by air, and travelling in general.
✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/english-phrases-vocabulary-air-travel/
While you listen you will discover some of the latest news from around the world in today’s English lesson. It’s clear, easy to follow and relevant to intermediate learners. So start Listen and learning now!
All human life can be found in an airport.
⭐ David Walliams, British - Actor
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- Grasp: To hold something tightly, or to understand an idea well.
- Luggage: Bags and suitcases used to carry clothes and other things when you travel.
- Miniature: Very small; a tiny version of something.
- Extortionate: A price that is much too high; not fair.
- Scanners: Machines that look at or copy documents or pictures, or check objects, like bags at an airport.
- Baggage: Similar to luggage; the bags and suitcases you take with you when you travel.
- Queue: A line of people or things waiting for something, like to buy tickets or to get on a bus.
Hi there. Today I'm going to use a current news story to help you learn some really good English language vocabulary. I'm going to cover the words you'll need for going through airport security. See how much of what I'm saying you can understand. This is really good practice.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
This is a recent news item about a change that's going to happen to airport security. So let's talk about airport security and some of the frustrations with it currently, for those of us who are privileged enough to be able to do air travel. And I think if you do travelling on the plane, you might be just a little bit pleased at this news - as I was!
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OK, so this was something that was reported in the UK news this week.
We've had a requirement if you're flying to or from the UK - and this has been the case in many other countries too - w e've we've had this restriction on liquids being carried in your hand luggage. No more than 10 bottles, each of 100 millilitres.
This applies to what we call 'carry on luggage' or 'hand luggage'. This means the bags that you can take with you inside the aeroplane.
Luggage, L U G G A G E is the blanket term, the overall term for your bags, your baggage, your suitcases. That's your luggage. It's what you carry with you when you travel. The verb 'to lug' means 'to pull', and the implication is 'to lug something - 'it's heavy', if you're 'lugging it'. So 'hand luggage', or 'carry on bags' - stuff you bring inside the plane. And we call it 'hold luggage' or 'hold baggage', H O L D, or 'in the hold'. That's the big suitcases that you check-in at the airport, and the ones you don't see again until you arrive at your destination. Or hopefully you see them again at your destination. So the restriction of liquids is for your hand luggage only.
And the news is that this restriction, well, it's going to be lifted apparently in 2024 . Yippee I say - that will make a difference to the level of stress at the airport.
So this rule has been in place since 2006 in the UK. It was discovered then that a number of terrorists planned to board planes and carry with them liquids, which when mixed made an explosive substance. And the plan was to bring down seven planes that were flying from London Heathrow. Previously, there were no restrictions on the amount of liquid that you could bring onboard a plane as hand luggage.
So a very serious terrorist threat was averted, and the rule around liquids came in. So very good reasons, obviously for those rules to be there.
Now, of course there are much bigger problems in the world than this. And as I say, those of us who get to fly on planes are privileged. I realize this. But just let me complain a little bit about airport security. If you've experienced this too, you'll know what I'm talking about here, I think.
As you go through security in the airport, certainly in UK airports, and I've experienced it in other countries airports as well, there are long, long queues. A 'queue', Q U E U E is basically a line of people waiting. And in fact, in US English, they just call a 'queue' a 'line', L I N E.
My tip on London airports? Avoid London Stanstead, if you can. That's the place where I have experienced the worst queues!
So first of all, as you arrive at airport security, you have to bin your bottle of water. It doesn't matter if it's unopened, you still have to bin it.
Then you have to buy your water again at the other side of airport security. Except this time you might be paying an extortionate price. 'Extortionate', E X T O R T I O N A T E - that means 'too highly priced'. And by that, I mean for a 500 ml bottle of water, half a litre of water, you're being charged four or five pounds. That's extortion, I think! But it's either that or you go thirsty.
So having queued for a long time at airport security, you're then required to unpack your carefully packed hand luggage because they want all your electronic devices to be taken out. Your laptop, your mobile phone, and anything else must be taken out of your bag.
You have to take off your coat, hand your keys in, your purse, your credit cards, even your jewellry might need to be taken off. You also put into the plastic trays that they provide, your precious passport, your travel documents. And often it's your belt and your shoes that need to be taken as well. I always seem to have to remove those items.
Items at airport security scanner. Today we improve your English comprehension skills with some interesting UK news articles. English listening practice that is clear, easy to follow and relevant to intermediate learners.
So basically you are 'deconstructed', you're half-undressed, while all your precious items, in lots of plastic boxes are sent further up the line in security through the scanner and way away, where you can't see them.
You cannot 'keep an eye on' them and keep them safe. What stops someone from taking all those items, while you're detained, possibly in your socks being scanned or standing in the X-ray machine?
All of this, I understand. In this day and age it's necessary to be able to travel safely on a plane. You and I are lucky if we can get to do that. But the liquids restriction on top of this just makes for extra stress. So you have your bag of liquids, no more than a 100ml each, a hundred millilitres, that is.
So you manage to make it through the scanner and you start to retrieve all your items from those plastic boxes and repack your bag, and you're called to one side because there's a problem with your bag of liquids!
The security guard examines your plastic bag and possibly challenges you or bins some of the liquids in your bag. Sometimes they'll find some tiny item, tucked away in a pocket, somewhere, that you've forgotten about. And some of them seem to take some kind of pleasure in binning things - an eyeliner that somebody finds in a pocket or an old piece of soap perhaps. And who wants an airport security guard looking closely and examining their personal items, their toiletries, all the creams and potions and different things that we might want to carry with us when we travel. It could be embarrassing in some ways. If you're a woman of a certain age like me, I find I need quite a lot of different bottles, so 10 probably isn't enough. It's fine if I've got hold luggage, but if I'm going somewhere for a short stay, the cost of hold luggage is such that I'm probably just going to bring hand luggage, so everything's got to go into there.
There are reports of mothers challenged about the baby milk that they're trying to carry on board the plane for their infants. Nobody is immune, it seems! And when you're addressing a security issue, I guess it's right that it's like that, but it's still frustrating.
It also means that it's impossible to bring food and drink - you're 'captive'. You're inside the airport, and you have to pay the prices that they demand. That seems unfair to make money out of the situation.
Full marks to the airport in Amsterdam because they don't make you throw your water away. And half marks to Toulouse airport because when you've gone through airport security, where you do have to bin your water, there's a stand where you can pay a euro for a bottle of water. So that's better than many places.
Once through airport security, you then have the dubious pleasure of buying back in the airport, all those items that were removed in the security check. The shops in the airport specialize in selling miniature bottles of things. ' Miniature', M I N I A T U R E. That means 'a small version of', so you have the pleasure of buying a miniature bottle of your normal shampoo, which is a fraction of the size, but which costs nearly the same!
Tooth paste? Here is a tiny tube, which is not going to last one person a whole week. Or you can just go ahead and buy the full size bottles and tubes from the shop. But oh, yes, you're not going to be able to bring them home with you.
So I celebrate the small win in 2024 of not having to remove your electronic items or your liquids from your hand luggage.
And I believe, though I found this difficult to verify, that the restrictions on liquids in hand luggage will be lifted then as well for UK airports. The reason for this? Improvement in the scanning technology, so the scanners will be able to see everything in your hand luggage without you needing to remove it.
Apparently, the biggest cause of delay at airports? People who have bottles larger than 100ml in their hand luggage. Or people who are over their allowance in some way, or people who fail to remove liquid items. And as I say, that includes things like eyeliners and lipsticks. So it's the liquids that apparently cause the queues at airport security and result in sometimes people actually missing their plane.
Apparently the 3D baggage scanners are being trialled in London Heathrow and London Gatwick Airports and other UK airports have been told that they must bring in the new scanning equipment by mid 2024.
So there's a little bit of joy for those of us who travel from the UK or to the UK. And hopefully that change will be rolling out across airports around the world. I believe they already have these sophisticated scanners in the US.
Anyway, there's some lovely airport security related vocabulary for you, international travel vocabulary. So listen to this podcast a number of times until you understand all the words and they're familiar to you. I haven't talked about passports or 'nothing to declare'. That's for another time, but at least you'll be 'au fait' with airport security language.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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