Speak English Around Town » LESSON 16 - Handling a Delay at the Airport

Handling a Delay at the Airport

Tom's flight to Chicago on Flyaway Airlines has been delayed and now he worries he'll miss his meeting. He talks to Mike, a representative of the airline.

VOICE: Attention passengers on Flight 394 to Chicago. This flight has been delayed. Please stand by for more information.

Tom: Excuse me, I'm on the flight to Chicago. When will it depart now?

Mike: It looks like it'll be delayed at least two hours. I'll keep you posted.

Tom: I have a 4 o'clock meeting in Chicago. If the flight gets in at 3:30, there's no way I'll make it.

Mike: Sorry, but there's nothing I can do. There are lots of other people here in the same boat.

Tom: Are there any other flights to Chicago?

Mike: Yes, there's a 1 p.m. departure, but it's fully booked.

Tom: Can you put me on the waiting list?

Mike: I'll add you to the list, but don't hold your breath. There are quite a few people already on the list.

Tom: Can I fly another airline?

Mike: Other airlines won't honor your Flyaway Airlines ticket.

Tom: Oh, for crying out loud! This is so annoying.

Mike: I'm sorry you're annoyed, but there's nothing more I can do.

Tom: Let me give you a piece of my mind. I won't be using Flyaway Airlines again anytime soon!

  • don't hold your breath
    don't count on it; it's unlikely
    Example: Becky said she'd invite us over for dinner this week, but don't hold your breath. She's unreliable.
  • for crying out loud
    an expression one says when annoyed or angry
    Example: For crying out loud! Somebody parked right behind us in the parking lot, and now we can't get our car out!
  • fully booked
    having no availability; with all seats taken
    Example: I wanted to take an 8 a.m. flight from New York to London, but the flight was fully booked.
  • (to) give someone a piece of one's mind
    to tell someone what one really thinks
    Example: Our waiter has been really slow all evening. I'm going to give him a piece of my mind!
  • (to) honor a ticket
    to accept a ticket
    Example: Since Delta Airlines canceled my flight to Orlando, they promised that another airline would honor my ticket.
  • in the same boat
    in the same bad situation; sharing the same negative experience
    Example: When the airport shut down due to a blizzard, I was stuck in the airport. Many other people were in the same boat.
  • (to) keep someone posted
    to update someone; to give someone the latest information
    Example: Keep me posted on your flight status.
  • no way
    no chance
    Example: The report is due on Friday? There's no way we're going to finish it on time.
  • put someone on a (or the) waiting list
    to add somebody to a list of people waiting for a service
    Example: You want to upgrade to business class? I'll put you on the waiting list.
  • quite a few
    many; a fairly large number
    Example: Quite a few passengers were stuck at Kennedy Airport overnight after their flights were canceled due to bad weather.
  • (to) stand by
    to wait for further information
    Example: Passengers for Flight 52 to Dallas, your flight has been delayed. Please stand by.
Practice the Expressions

Choose the best substitute for the phrase or sentence in bold:

  1. We lost our power in the snowstorm. Our neighbors' houses were also dark, so we knew they were in the same boat.
    • a) traveling with us
    • b) in the same situation
    • c) on vacation
  2. For crying out loud! We've been sitting here for 20 minutes waiting for the waiter to come take our order.
    • a) Let's speak up!
    • b) Good news!
    • c) How annoying!
  3. Maria's Bistro is fully booked for tonight.
    • a) available
    • b) not available
    • c) closed
  4. You're going out on a date with the guy you met on the Internet? Good luck and keep me posted!
    • a) tell me what happens
    • b) call me while you 're on the date
    • c) be careful
  5. Sorry, we can't honor your bus tickets. They're for a different bus company.
    • a) accept your bus tickets
    • b) refund your bus tickets
    • c) return your bus tickets
  6. We got to Costco before the store opened. There were quite a few people waiting in line to get in.
    • a) one or two
    • b) thousands of
    • c) many
  7. Adam said he's going to invite us to his cottage this summer, but don't hold your breath.
    • a) don't talk to him about it
    • b) don't accept his invitation
    • c) don't count on it
  8. Look at this traffic! There's no way we'll be on time for the play.
    • a) a possibility
    • b) no chance
    • c) some chance
  9. Please stand by for more information.
    • a) ask
    • b) stand over there
    • c) wait
  10. Your doctor failed to diagnose your illness and now it's worse? You should call him and give him a piece of your mind.
    • a) tell him you're angry because he made a mistake
    • b) offer to let him examine your head
    • c) ask him if you can come in for another examination
Answer Key
Practice The Expressions
  1. b
  2. c
  3. b
  4. a
  5. a
  6. c
  7. c
  8. b
  9. c
  10. a
Answer Key
Language Lens: Annoyed/ Annoying

"Annoying" describes the person, place, or thing that causes one's feelings. "Annoyed" says how one feels. Something is annoying, so one feels annoyed. Remember: the cause of the feelings ends in -ing. The way one feels ends in -ed. Here's a list of other word pairs that follow the same pattern:

Cause of the feelings How one feels
Something is ... ... so one feels
surprising surprised
boring bored
interesting interested
disappointing disappointed
amazing amazed
confusing confused
exciting excited
exhausting exhausted
terrifying terrified
shocking shocked
irritating irritated
horrifying horrified
energizing energized

That was an exhausting trip. I feel exhausted!
What shocking news! I'm shocked.
The lecture was boring. I was so bored I almost fell asleep.
These driving directions are confusing. I'm confused.
The massage was energizing. I felt energized afterwards.
This is exciting news! I'm so excited.

Quick Quiz

Fill in the blank with the missing word:

  1. After traveling around China for three weeks on business, Chad is _____ .
    • a) exhausting
    • b) exhausted
  2. It's _____ when people talk during movies.
    • a) annoyed
    • b) annoying
  3. You're getting married in July? How _____!
    • a) exciting
    • b) excited
  4. That's _____ that your daughter can already say the alphabet at just 18 months!
    • a) amazed
    • b) amazing
  5. I was _____ when my friend called and said she couldn't come visit for the weekend.
    • a) disappointing
    • b) disappointed
  6. Nate is _____ in other cultures, so he'd make a good diplomat.
    • a) interested
    • b) interesting
  7. No wonder people fall asleep in Professor Martin's class. He's so _____.
    • a) boring
    • b) bored
  8. Pat found the documentary on Thomas Jefferson very _____.
    • a) interested
    • b) interesting
  9. Dana didn't call you to wish you a happy birthday? That's _____.
    • a) surprised
    • b) surprising
  10. The instructions are _____ . I can't figure out how to install this new software.
    • a) confusing
    • b) confused
Answer Key
  1. b
  2. b
  3. a
  4. b
  5. b
  6. a
  7. a
  8. b
  9. b
  10. a
Answer Key
Favorite Books

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The purpose of the Illustrated Everyday Expressions with Stories series is to introduce English language learners to common idioms through humorous examples and illustrations. The lessons in this book will both entertain and enlighten students while providing exposure to how each idiom can be used in a variety of contexts.

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Do you want your English to sound natural and fluent? Idiomatic expressions are essential to natural sounding English, but they can be challenging to remember, and even harder to use in conversation. This simple and straightforward program can help you master hundreds of useful and common idiomatic expressions. Best of all, you don't need a book, so you can listen anywhere and anytime it's convenient. It's a piece of cake!

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