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…


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…


Coffee, hair products, cologne, perfume, mints/mouthwash, paper, metal, cleaning products, baked goods from a small snack/coffee business…


Coffee, water, mints, gum, vending machine snacks…


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, checking constantly to make sure all your bags/papers/purse/children are still with you, fighting with a luggage bag with a faulty wheel…

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.

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (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?

Think beyond what a character sees, and provide a sensory feast for readers

Setting is much more than just a backdrop, which is why choosing the right one and describing it well is so important.
To help with this, we have expanded and integrated this thesaurus into our online library at One Stop For Writers. Each entry has been enhanced to include possible sources of conflict, people commonly found in these locales, and setting-specific notes and tips, and the collection itself has been augmented to include a whopping 230 entries—all of which have been cross-referenced with our other thesauruses for easy searchability. So if you’re interested in seeing a free sample of this powerful Setting Thesaurus, head on over and register at One Stop.

The Setting Thesaurus DuoOn the other hand, if you prefer your references in book form, we’ve got you covered, too, because both books are now available for purchase in digital and print copies. In addition to the entries, each book contains instructional front matter to help you maximize your settings. With advice on topics like making your setting do double duty and using figurative language to bring them to life, these books offer ample information to help you maximize your settings and write them effectively.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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13 Responses to Setting Thesaurus Entry: Airport Check in

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

  2. Anonymous says:

    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.


  3. Patti Lacy says:

    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!

  4. 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.

  5. AubrieAnne says:

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

  6. Jemi Fraser says:

    Makes me glad I’m staying home for the holidays 🙂

  7. 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. 🙁

  8. Vicki Rocho says:

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

    Great list!

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

  10. Brilliant list as always, girls! 😀

  11. zaelyna says:

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

  12. E.J. Wesley says:

    “Prunes through an 8 year old’s digestive system.”



  13. LM Preston says:

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

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