Airports are stressful and busy places. Knowing some key airport phrases, however, can help you navigate these often confusing environments.

Here we'll introduce you to phrases that will be useful when traveling through an airport. You'll learn what to say when checking in for your flight, what commands to pay attention to at security, and much more. Check out the tables below and get ready for the next time you go flying!

Checking in at the Airport

When you arrive at an airport, the first thing you'll need to do is check in and get your boarding pass printed. Using the phrases below, you will have no problem doing this!
   
 
   
 
Wo ist der Check-in-Schalter?
 
Where is the check-in desk?
 
Ich würde gerne einchecken.
 
I would like to check in.
 
Bitte seien Sie 45 Minuten vor Abflug am Flugsteig.
 
Please be at the gate 45 minutes before departure.
 
Haben Sie ein aufgegebenes Gepäckstück oder nur Handgepäck?
 
Do you have a checked bag or just carry-on luggage?
 
Ich habe ein Handgepäck und zwei aufgegebene Taschen.
 
I have one carry-on and two checked bags.
 
Kann ich Ihren Reisepass sehen?
 
Can I see your passport?
 
Kann ich Ihre Bordkarte sehen?
 
Can I see your boarding pass?
 
Das Boarding für Ihren Flug beginnt um 7:15 Uhr.
 
Your flight is boarding at 7:15.
 
Ihr Flug geht von Flugsteig F12.
 
Your flight leaves from gate F12.
 
Der Flug hat eine Stunde Verspätung.
 
The flight has been delayed for one hour.
 
Abflug ist in 3 Stunden.
 
Take off is in three hours.
 
Alle Passagiere des Fluges QUE382 nach Toronto werden aufgerufen. Das Boarding für Ihren Flug am Flugsteig Z15 beginnt jetzt.
 
Paging all passengers on flight QUE382 to Toronto. Your flight is now boarding at gate Z15.
 
 
Wo ist der Check-in-Schalter?
This is a phrase that you will often hear after checking into your flight. It's very important to know when your Abflug is so that you don't miss your flight! In response to this sentence, you could say something like: Er befindet sich in der Nähe des Westeingangs.
Alle Passagiere des Fluges QUE382 nach Toronto werden aufgerufen. Das Boarding für Ihren Flug am Flugsteig Z15 beginnt jetzt
You might hear a sentence like this announced over loudspeakers while at the airport. Pay attention if you hear your flight number announced! For example, if you were taking flight QUE382 to Toronto you would know to either get ready to board the plane or to head to your gate (in this case Z15) as soon as possible. Otherwise you might be left behind! After hearing a sentence like this, you might say something to a fellow traveler such as: Wir machen uns jetzt besser bereit, an Bord zu gehen.

Going through Security

For some people going through security is the most stressful part of flying. Lines can be long, people unfriendly, and it's often just uncomfortable. No worries though, beyond security adventure is waiting! In the table below, we've gathered some of the most common things you'll hear while going through airport security.
   
 
   
 
Wir müssen durch die Sicherheitskontrolle gehen, bevor wir an Bord gehen können.
 
We need to go through the security check before we can board.
 
Leeren Sie bitte Ihre Taschen.
 
Empty your pockets, please.
 
Legen Sie alle elektronischen Geräte in einen separaten Behälter.
 
Put all electronics in a separate bin.
 
Halten Sie Ihren Reisepass bereit.
 
Have your passport out and ready.
 
Gehen Sie bitte durch den Körperscanner.
 
Step through the scanner, please.
 
Ich muss Ihre Tasche durchsuchen.
 
I need to search your bag.
 
Was haben Sie in Ihrer Tasche?
 
What do you have in your bag?
 
Bitte halten Sie still.
 
Please hold still.
 
 
Leeren Sie bitte Ihre Taschen
Make sure your pockets are empty when entering security. Officers will usually remind you of this by saying the phrase above. If you are sure that you have emptied your pockets, you could say something like this: Ich habe nichts mehr in meinen Taschen.
Ich muss Ihre Tasche durchsuchen
If security needs to look through one of your bags, it's important to just remain calm and answer any questions they ask you. If an officer says the above sentence to you, you could respond with: Sicher, kein Problem.

Landing at Your Destination

When landing at your destination you can take a sigh of relief because you've almost made it! There are only a few more airport stages that you need to go through before you are completely free to explore. Take a look at the phrases below and prepare for the final airport stages.
   
 
   
 
Was ist der Zweck Ihres Aufenthalts?
 
What is the purpose of your stay?
 
Ich bin hier im Urlaub.
 
I'm here on vacation.
 
Wie lange bleiben Sie hier?
 
How long are you staying here?
 
Waren Sie schon einmal hier?
 
Have you been here before?
 
Wo ist die Gepäckausgabe?
 
Where is baggage claim?
 
Ihr Gepäck ist verloren gegangen.
 
Your baggage has been lost.
 
Wir sind um 8:15 Uhr gelandet.
 
We landed at 8:15.
 
Wir müssen durch den Zoll gehen, bevor wir den Flughafen verlassen können.
 
We need to go through customs before we can leave the airport.
 
Haben Sie etwas zu verzollen?
 
Do you have anything to declare?
 
Ich habe nur kleinere Souvenirs für meine Familie gekauft.
 
I only bought small souvenirs for my family.
 
Haben Sie zollfreie Gegenstände im Gepäck?
 
Do you have any duty-free items in your luggage?
 
Darf ich Ihre Tasche durchsuchen?
 
May I search your bag?
 
 
Was ist der Zweck Ihres Aufenthalts?
This is a common question that you will hear when going through passport control. You can answer it in many different ways depending on why you are traveling. Here are few different example response: Ich besuche Freunde, Ich bin geschäftlich hier, and Ich bin im Urlaub.
Wo ist die Gepäckausgabe?
When your flight has landed, you'll need to head to Gepäckausgabe in order to pick up any luggage that you checked in at your departure. If you don't know where it is you can ask the question above. Airport employees will either guide you there or say something like: Wenn Sie den Schildern an den Wänden folgen, werden Sie sie finden.
Haben Sie etwas zu verzollen?
This is a common phrase that you will hear when going through customs. After arriving at your destination this is usually the final stage that you will have to go through. There are many different ways to respond to the question above, and it depends on what you are bringing into your destination. An example response is: Ich habe nur ein paar kleine Souvenirs dabei.

Answers to the Most Common Questions

What are the most essential German phrases that I need to know at an airport?
  • Kann ich Ihren Reisepass sehen?
    Can I see your passport?
  • Kann ich Ihre Bordkarte sehen?
    Can I see your boarding pass?
  • Was ist der Zweck Ihres Aufenthalts?
    What is the purpose of your stay?
  • Bitte seien Sie 45 Minuten vor Abflug am Flugsteig.
    Please be at the gate 45 minutes before departure.
  • Ihr Flug geht von Flugsteig F12.
    Your flight leaves from gate F12.
  • Leeren Sie bitte Ihre Taschen.
    Empty your pockets, please.
  • Was haben Sie in Ihrer Tasche?
    What do you have in your bag?
What's the most important thing to have when I go to the airport?
Your Reisepass and Bordkarte are the two most important things to have with you when at the airport. If you forget them or lose them somewhere then it might be difficult boarding the plane! Other than these things, you'll most likely also want to take some Gepäck with you. Patience and a good book to read while you wait are also handy to have!
What is the most important thing to do at security?
Going through security or in German Sicherheitskontrolle can easily be the most stressful part of being at an airport. The most important things to do when going through Sicherheitskontrolle is to (1) pay attention to any commands or questions that officers might have and (2) stay calm. Security can be intimidating, but just think about all the new experiences and adventures just waiting for you on the other side of security.
What do I need to do once I arrive at my destination?
When traveling internationally there are a couple of extra stations at the airport that you will need to go through before you are free to leave. The first one is Gepäckausgabe. This is where you'll pick up any luggage that you checked in. This is a station that you'll probably go through regardless of whether you're traveling internationally or domestically. The final two stages are Grenzkontrolle and Zoll. At these stages, your passport will be checked and officers will ask what items you are bringing into your destination. Once you've passed these stations, you are finally free to leave the airport!