Navigating A German Airport Posted by Constanze on Oct 26, 2016 in Holidays, Language
Guten Tag! It occurred to me when deciding what to write about next that there is yet to be a post about how to navigate an airport in German. Personally, I find airports extremely stressful – and that’s without the language barriers one might encounter there. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, so I’m writing this post in the hope that it’ll reduce the stress of going to an airport in a German-speaking country – and that it will also prove useful in any non-German speaking country that uses German at its airports.
Airport – der Flughafen
Airline – die Fluggesellschaft
Plane – das Flugzeug
Flight – der Flug
Flight number – die Flugnummer
Luggage – das Gepäck
Hand luggage – das Handgepäck
Ticket/Boarding card – der Flugschein/die Bordkarte
Passport – der Ausweis/der Reisepass
Visa – das Visum
Pilot – der Pilot
Flight attendant – der Flugbegleiter (m) / die Flugbegleiterin (f)
Nagivating an airport
When you think about it, you navigate an airport by a series of words only: ‘Terminal’ – ‘Departures’ – ‘Delayed’. That’s good news if you’re not too familiar with the language of the country you’re visiting. Follow these words and you’ll get to where you want to be. Here they are in German. I’ve written them as you might see them signposted at the airport (no genders).
Tip: Print this list out and take it with you to the airport for easy reference – and a bit of extra language revision! 🙂
Terminal – TERMINAL
Gate – GATE (‘FLUGSTEIG’ is the German word, but the English ‘GATE’ is used more frequently)
Arrivals – ANKUNFT
Departures – ABFLUG
Destination – ZIEL
Check-in – CHECK-IN
Check-in desk – CHECK-IN SCHALTER
Security – SICHERHEITSKONTROLLE
Passport control – PASSKONTROLLE
Baggage drop – GEPÄCKANNAHME
Bulky baggage – SPERRGEPÄCKANNAHME
Duty free – ZOLLFREI
Priority – PRIORITÄT
For the following, you’ll often see the English words instead of the German. But just in case, here are the German words, too. You’ll also see these same words (with the exception of ‘landed’ and ‘boarding’) at train stations, where the English may NOT be used, and of course you’ll see these words if you check the German airport’s website for your flight status.
Delayed – VERSPÄTET
Cancelled – GESTRICHEN/ANNULLIERT/STORNIERT
Expected – ERWARTET (sometimes shortened to ERW.)
Landed – GELANDET
Boarding – BOARDING
Nothing to declare – NICHTS ZU VERZOLLEN
Border control – GRENZKONTROLLE
Baggage claim – GEPÄCKAUSGABE
Connecting flights – ANSCHLUSSFLÜGE
Exit – AUSGANG
Emergency exit – NOTAUSGANG
Currency exchange – GELDWECHSEL
Car rental – MIETWAGEN
Taxis & buses – TAXI – BUSSE
Hope this has been useful. In part 2 we’ll be on the plane itself (!), and I’ll go over some of the phrases you may hear and use, and the terminology for things you find on a plane.
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Thank you for your keeping me updated on my German.
I lived in Germany only 11 yrs, so missed out on adult German.
thx for the interesting info. I just wonder why 3 words used for cancellation? If they abbreviate erwartet (erw) do they shorten any other ones?
@helen I don’t know why there are 3 words, haha, but quite simply, I’ve seen all three used before. So I thought it would be useful to include them all. Similarly, I’ve seen ‘erw’ for ‘erwartet’ a lot, but none of the others abbreviated! I think it’s because ‘erwartet’ or ‘erw’ is written at the top of the flight information board, not in the flight details section. Hope that helps. 🙂