Listening to Airplane Announcements in Movies


    • Provide preparation to listen to and practice in comprehending airplane announcements.


    • Low-Intermediate


    • Handout and video segments in which an announcement is made on an airplane.

Suggested movies:

    • The Graduate, Fearless (1993), Turbulence (1997)


    • Warm up:
      1. Ask the class the following questions: Have you ever traveled by airplane? If you have, you may have noticed the announcements that are made by the flight crew throughout the duration of the flight. What are some of the types of announcements made during a flight?
      2. Write answers on the board under these three headings: Topic or information type, Time during the flight, Speaker (made by whom). Answers pertaining to the chart can be recorded on the board by the teacher or by a designated student
      3. Remind students to write down ideas in their own textbooks.
    • Production Task:
      1. Form small groups of 4 or 5 students to do this activity.
      2. Explain that announcements follow a structure or pattern that is quite predictable. This is to make the messages more predictable and thus, more understandable to the passengers. At the most basic level, the structure is Opening-Message-Closing. Obviously the structure of the message will be dependent upon the situation.
      3. Distribute the handouts. Read through the announcement elements and examples.
      4. Tell the groups to choose one of the announcement types that were generated during the warm up. Tell them to write what they would expect to hear in such an announcement. Consider which of the announcement elements listed on the handout to include and the appropriate order for the elements.
      5. Remind the students that the examples listed are not a complete list of all possible utterances. Students may use the example phrases or alter them as they wish. Allow the student groups 5 to 10 minutes to plan the structure and contents of their announcement. Use of L1 is at the discretion of the teacher.
      6. Ask the students choose one group member to read aloud their group's announcement.
      7. While the student is reading the announcement, the groups should try to decide the type of announcement, the speaker, the time during the flight and the specific message. A different group may be asked to give the answer for each announcement.
    • Listening Task:
      1. Listen to the video passage twice. The first time, check off the announcement elements that occur. The second time, make a note of the details of the message.
      2. Decide who is the speaker of the announcement.
      3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each video taped announcement presented.
    • Variation:
      • The handout can be adapted to reflect announcements in different situations. Here are some possibilities and just a few suggested movie sources.
        • Airport announcement movies:
          • Airplane, Die Hard II, Only You
        • Train Station announcement movies:
          • Falling in Love, Carlitoªfs Way, The Untouchables


Announcement Element / Example


    • Passengers of flight 111.
    • Ladies and Gentlemen.
    • Good morning.

Speaker identification

    • This is First Officer Dulaney.
    • This is the Navigator speaking.

Description of flight event

    • We are expecting a little turbulence.
    • We are just passing by Mount Fuji.
    • We have reached altitude.

Description of technical event

    • I have just switched on/off the seat belt sign.
    • The sound that you just heard is the lowering of the flaps.


    • Tokyo is a hot, humid 30 degrees with a slight chance of rain.
    • Fog is closing in Kansai International.


    • It is now 2:34 Mountain Standard Time.
    • The time at our destination is 6:34.


    • We will arrive on schedule at 8:00 AM local time.
    • Our flight will be delayed by 10 minutes.
    • The flight will take an estimated 3 hours and 15 minutes.


    • Please have your customs documents ready for collection.
    • Ensure that all items are safely stowed in the overhead bins.


    • Thank you for flying with ANA.
    • It has been our pleasure to serve you.
    • We hope you will enjoy your flight.
    • Please fly again with us.

Listening Task

Announcement Element

  • Greeting
  • Speaker identification
  • Weather
  • Time
  • Description of flight event
  • Instructions
  • Itinerary
  • Description of technical event
  • Closing