Russian Language Blog

What You Need To Know To Navigate Russian Airports Posted by on Mar 11, 2020 in Vocabulary, when in Russia

In case you need to fly into, out of, or through a Russian airport, there are some common phrases that will make navigating it much more comfortable. Of course, international airports (аэропо́рты) have announcements (объявле́ния) and signs (указа́тели) in English and in the flight origin/destination language, but you if you fly within Russia, these words may come in handy.


Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay


Полёт is the word for a flight. Another technical term you may hear is рейс. Полёт mainly refers to the process of flying, so you are more likely to hear this word when the plane is in the air, whereas рейс refers to the bureaucratic side of things: booking a flight, checking in for the flight, or the origin and destination of the flight.

В октябре́, наприме́р, загру́зка самолётов составля́ла не бо́лее 10 челове́к на рейс.
For example, in October, there were no more than 10 people on each flight.
[ И вновь заледенела полоса // «Марийская правда» (Йошкар-Ола), 2003.01.16]


Расписа́ние is a schedule or timetable. It may be displayed on physical airport screens. Here are some words that may appear on these screens:

  • прибы́тие—”arrival” (from прибывать, to arrive)
  • прилёт—another word for arrival, specifically for flights
  • отправле́ние—”departure” (from отправляться, to depart, to leave for somewhere)
  • вы́лет—another word for departure, specifically for flights
  • заде́ржка—delay, noun
    • заде́рживать—to delay
    • заде́рживаться—to be delayed
  • отме́на—cancellation
    • отменя́ть—to cancel
  • перено́с—rescheduling
    • переноси́ть—to reschedule

О́коло ты́сячи ре́йсов по всей Аме́рике бы́ли заде́ржаны, и то́лько по́сле обе́да аэропо́рт на́чал возвраща́ться к норма́льной рабо́те.
Around one thousand flights all over the US were delayed, and it wasn’t until after lunch that the airport started getting back to normal.
[Михаил РЯБИКОВ. Стрельба в аэропорту Лос-Анджелеса: по версии журналистов, убийца взбунтовался против американских порядков // Комсомольская правда, 2013.11.02]



Image by tookapic from Pixabay

Регистра́ция на вы́лет” or “регистра́ция на рейс… (insert flight info here)” both refer to checking in for your flight. Oftentimes, it would appear in announcements in a doublet as “регистра́ция на рейс и оформле́ние багажа́,” which means “check-in and baggage drop-off.”

This is where you would check your bags (сдать бага́ж), sometimes have your hand luggage (ручна́я кладь) checked for weight and size, and get your boarding pass (поса́дочный тало́н). Nowadays, you don’t always have to go to a physical check-in counter (сто́йка регистра́ции) and can check in online.

На Ки́евском вокза́ле пассажи́ры мо́гут пройти́ регистра́цию на рейс и сдать бага́ж.
Passengers may check in for their flight and check their bags at Kievsky railway station.
[Светлана ОЛИФИРОВА. Что делать, если из пустой квартиры соседей льет вода // Комсомольская правда, 2005.04.24]


Досмо́тр is a security check. Mind that the rules may be different in Russia from your home country. For example, last time I flew, I didn’t need to take off my shoes (cним́ать о́бувь) or place my laptop in a separate bin. However, these rules change all the time, so be prepared to change course quickly.

Sometime after the security check you may need to go through a passport check (пройти́ па́спортный контро́ль). This is where you show your passport (па́спорт) and visa (ви́за), as the case may be. There may be separate lanes for citizens (гра́ждане) of different countries, which will be indicated above each lane.



Image by Lars_Nissen_Photoart from Pixabay

Now we’ve gotten to the most confusing air-travel-related homonym in Russian—поса́дка. This word can mean both boarding the plane for people and landing for the plane. How did that happen?

Well, the verb сади́ться literally means to sit down in Russian. So, on the one hand, you have people “sitting down” inside the plane (=boarding) and, on the other hand, you have the plane “sitting down” on the ground (=landing). Here are some typical scenarios:

  • For people:
    • поса́дочный тало́н—we already mentioned this; “boarding pass”
    • вы́ход на поса́дку—departure gate or the boarding process itself
    • объявля́ется/продолжа́ется/заверша́ется поса́дка на рейс...”—popular intercom calls announcing the initial boarding, boarding in progress, and last call for boarding
  • For planes:
    • соверша́ть поса́дку—to land
    • захо́д на поса́дку—approach to landing

And these were just the words having to do with the airport! There are also things you can see once you’re in the air. Let me know in the comments if you would like to read a post on what words you may need to know inside a Russian plane. Or perhaps you would like to talk about a different mode of transport?

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available in English on her website and Twitter and in Russian on Telegram.