Setting Thesaurus Entry: Airport Check in


Sliding glass doors exiting drop off areas and the parade, long open area leading to multiple airline check ins, snake-like cordoned off queues filled with passengers carting luggage, e-ticket check in terminals, security personnel, airport staff, gates for different airlines (complete with company colors, uniformed staff, logos and TV sets displaying ads for each), signs from the ceiling directing passengers to airline check ins, baggage drop off, business class check ins, washrooms, information desks, baggage claim, meeting areas, car rentals, etc. monitors for flight times, departures/arrivals, tables with bag tags, pens, baggage forms, custom forms and instructions for carry on information, stands to self-size carry on luggage, wickets for check in (luggage scale, computer/monitor, ticket printouts, luggage tags and stickers, airline employee, pens, forms, passengers holding tickets/visas/passports, luggage deposit behind check in desk, janitorial employees with cleaning trolleys, vending machines, wall displays for maps/airport pamphlets/travel advisories/security information


Automated doors opening and closing, names being called over the intercom for check in, flight arrivals, departures/delays, luggage wheels sliding across the floor in a pattern thud as they hit the spaces between tiles, parents telling their kids to keep up, ticket personnel calling for the next customer in line, zippers opening and closing, soft luggage (duffel, backpacks) thumping against the ground, shoes, boots & high heels clicking against the floor, the shuffling of feet, the ruffle of papers, e-tickets spitting out a dispenser, stamps on paperwork, quiet conversation, people talking into phones, the bing of a text or ring of a phone, people clearing their throat, coughing, shifting and sighing, making small talk to others in line or muttering to selves as they wait, the crackle of a security officer's radio


Coffee, hair products, cologne, perfume, mints/mouthwash, paper, metal, cleaning products, baked goods from a small snack/coffee business inside the departing terminal area, sweat, bad breath, plastic, gluey-stickyback smell from tape and luggage stickers


Coffee, water, mints, gum, vending machine snacks, quick baked goods (bagels, muffins, wraps, cookies, etc easy to eat in line)


Tugging on a luggage handle, numb hand and arm from lugging a heavy suitcase or carry on, sitting on a suitcase during a particularly long wait in line, bumping into other people in line, accidentally running over a foot with luggage wheel, bumping into the queue strap keeping the line in place, shifting a shoulder bag from one shoulder to the other, juggling passports and paperwork, shuffling up a few steps every minute or so, rolling the neck and shoulders to ward off stiffness, pressing buttons on a e-check in ticket machine, craning the neck up to read directional signs, checking constantly to make sure all your bags/papers/purse/children are still with you, fighting with a luggage bag with a faulty wheel, attaching tags onto bags, checking to make sure zippers are closed, checking phone for messages, twisting wrist to see the time, filling out cards and forms while waiting in line, reading through itinerary, digging through purse of carry on, taking off extra layers and packing them away

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

As I waited in the ridiculously long line to check my baggage at the understaffed America Airlines counter, I glanced over at the neighboring wickets of Korea Air. Passengers were flying through the twisty queue like prunes shooting through an eight-year-old's digestive system.

Example 2:

The glass doors whooshed shut behind me, cutting off the last breath of outside air. I cringed and clutched my ticket to my chest, staring at the the hundreds of people crossing in front of me, all with purpose, all knowing exactly where to go. I stepped forward, trembling, praying I'd find an airport employee who could help me decipher the ticket my husband had printed out for me and show me where to go.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

People inched forward with their baggage like cars on a slow moving train.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

With a grunt, I hefted Nana's suitcase forward as the line moved and then set it down with a thump. What the hell did she pack for her weekend away, a freaking bag of bricks?


LM Preston said...

This is a great checklist! I'm adding it to my editing list of things to check.

E.J. Wesley said...

"Prunes through an 8 year old's digestive system."



zaelyna said...

Just what I need as I start my (hopefully final) revision of this novel :) Thanks!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Brilliant list as always, girls! :D

Joanna St. James said...

In my mind I compare airports to twitter, no one stays there long enough to remember anything you have done.

Vicki Rocho said...

*sigh* I remember when traveling wasn't such a hassle.

Great list!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Super list, as always!

Do you remember when it was fun to travel? Now I'd rather drive than go through an airport... It's such a shame. :(

Jemi Fraser said...

Makes me glad I'm staying home for the holidays :)

AubrieAnne said...

Another wonderful list. Thanks for a great taste of words.

Angela Ackerman said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. It's sad how much air travel has changed. I know the airport used to seem like such an adventure--all those destinations, all those people from different parts of the world. Now the airport feels more like a necessary evil to those wishing to travel.

Patti Lacy said...

Angela, I'm so blesssed to have found this post!! LOVE your wordsmithing heart!!!

I plan to share it with a client whose novel I'm editing.

You've made a delightful mix of fun and informative!

Anonymous said...

You have completely changed my first story yet to come out and this will blow my second story apart.

Thanks a lot and God bless your brain.


Untamed World said...

I wish you would create other printed thesauri: settings, physical attributes, traits, weather, colour/texture... These are VERY helpful in writing!


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