Behind the Scenes at the Airport

Check out how airports work and the fascinating equipment and machines they use

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Your Journey Through the Airport

Find out what goes on behind the scenes at the airport!

Birmingham-Airport-FrontWelcome to Behind the Scenes at the Airport where we show you all the amazing things that happen from arriving at the airport to flying in the plane.

On this page we’ll be telling you all about the different things you do at the airport.

When you take a train to visit a friend, it only takes a minute to hop on and hop off.  But if you’re getting on a plane, it’s a bit more complicated – although a lot more exciting!  It all starts when you arrive at the terminal.


brimingham-checkin-1The first thing you have to do when you arrive at the airport is to check in.  This is a bit like the school register.  They look at your passport and tickets, tick you off the list and give you a seat number which is normally printed on a boarding card, an extra piece of paper to hold – don’t lose it!

This is the point where you say bye to your luggage – for now that is! The check-in staff will ask you to put your suitcase on the baggage belt for it to be weighed. As long as it’s not too heavy it’ll then go down  the conveyor belt to be loaded onto the plane.

SO WHAT HAPPENED TO MY LUGGAGE? Don’t worry! That’s a whole different journey to learn about – click here to find out more!


Birmingham Security OfficerNow you’re ready to go through security. Here your hand luggage goes through a special X-Ray machine to make sure there’s nothing there that’s not allowed.

You also get to go through a cool machine – the Archway Metal Detector (or AMD for short!). The machine may beep as you walk through and the Security Officers may search you – you might even get a sticker!

A lot of airports now also use a body scanner. This is a really hi-tech machine that takes a picture of the person and displays it on a screen for the Security Officer to look at.

Departure Lounge

Brimingham-Departure-LoungeThe Departure Lounge is where you can rest while you wait for your flight. It’s always full of interesting shops and restaurants – if you go in them though you’ll need your boarding card to buy anything.

Just make sure you don’t forget about your flight! About an hour before your flight is due to depart, keep an eye on the Flight Information Display Screens. These will tell you which Gate you need to go to and when it’s time for you to board!

The Gate

Birmingham Airport GateThe gate is the name for the place where you get on the plane.  Airports have dozens of gates, each serving a different plane.

When the plane is ready, the gate opens and you can take your seats on the plane. Just inside the door, a flight attendant will check your boarding card and show you to your seat.  And then you’re ready for takeoff!

Want to explore more Behind the Scenes at the Airport? Click here!


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Behind the Scenes at the Airport

Check out how airports work and the fascinating equipment and machines they use

More From Behind the Scenes at the Airport