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Date: Aug 13, 2005

Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (2:08 - 251.3 KB - 16kbps)

1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

A strike by catering workers at London’s Heathrow airport has created chaos for thousands of air passengers. It has also severely affected the operations of British Airways (BA). Up to 70,000 travelers are waiting at or near the airport, not knowing when, or if, they will fly. Several hundred baggage handlers, cargo staff and other workers went on strike in support of 800 employees who were sacked by the US catering firm Gate Gourmet. A meeting is expected between unions and Gate Gourmet to break the deadlock.

BA’s Chief Executive Rod Eddington said: “I urge the management of Gate Gourmet and senior [union] officials to find a speedy resolution to this crisis and end the misery they are heaping on our customers.… This is not our dispute. Our customers must come first and everyone involved in creating this chaotic situation must come to their senses.” A further problem for BA is that nearly 100 airplanes and 1,000 pilots and cabin crew are still at the wrong airports around the world. BA said it would take days to clear the backlog.

WARM-UPS

1. FLIGHT CREW: Imagine you are a pilot or part of the cabin crew for British Airways (or another airline). Walk around the classroom and talk to the other “pilots / flight attendants” about your job and lifestyle.

2. AIRPORTS: What are your experiences of airports? In pairs / groups, talk about how the following could be improved at an airport you all know:

  • Getting to and from the airport
  • Check-in
  • Departure tax
  • Security controls
  • Duty free stores
  • Restaurants
  • Departure gates
  • Other

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Strike / airports / catering services / travelers / baggage / strikes / chaotic situations / airline pilots / cabin crew

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. PASSENGER: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “passenger”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

5. BA STRIKE OPINIONS: In pairs / groups, talk about these opinions on striking workers, Do you agree or disagree with them?

  1. Any airline worker who goes on strike should be immediately fired.
  2. Airlines should have much better back-up plans to deal with strikes.
  3. British Airways is the best airline in the world.
  4. British Airways makes big profits. It should pay its staff more.
  5. I don’t understand people who go on strike. They have signed a work contract.
  6. If caterers go on strike, passengers should take their own food on the airplane.
  7. If workers go on strike, it’s because employers are bad.
  8. If I were a stranded passenger, I would be very, very angry.

6. QUICK DEBATE: Students A think traveling by air is a wonderful way to travel. Students B think traveling by air is a terrible way to travel. Change partners often.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Striking catering workers stopped British Airways’ operations.

T / F

b.

Around 700,000 travelers are waiting at the airport.

T / F

c.

Airport staff went on strike in support of 800 workers who were fired.

T / F

d.

The catering company and unions are refusing to talk to each other.

T / F

e.

BA’s CEO said the strike has heaped misery on BA customers.

T / F

f.

BA’s CEO said people must come to their senses.

T / F

g.

Many BA pilots are at the wrong airports around the world.

T / F

h.

BA said it would take a month to clear the backlog.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

strike

argument

b.

severely

stalemate

c.

baggage

mess

d.

sacked

luggage

e.

deadlock

piling

f.

urge

industrial action

g.

crisis

ask

h.

heaping

fired

i.

dispute

confused

j.

chaotic

seriously

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

catering

senses

b.

severely affected

the deadlock

c.

baggage

to this crisis

d.

went on strike in

handlers

e.

break

workers

f.

find a speedy resolution

the backlog

g.

end

and cabin crew

h.

come to their

the operations of British Airways

i.

pilots

the misery

j.

take days to clear

support of 800 employees

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the correct space.

British Airways strike almost over

A ________ by catering workers at London’s Heathrow airport has created chaos for thousands of air passengers. It has also ________ affected the ________ of British Airways (BA). Up to 70,000 travelers are waiting at or near the airport, not ________ when, or if, they will fly. Several hundred baggage handlers, cargo ________ and other workers went on strike in ________ of 800 employees who were sacked by the US catering ________ Gate Gourmet. A meeting is expected between unions and Gate Gourmet to ________ the deadlock.

 

 

operations
break
strike
support
staff
firm
severely
knowing

BA’s Chief Executive Rod Eddington said: “I ________ the management of Gate Gourmet and senior [union] officials to find a ________ resolution to this crisis and end the ________ they are heaping on our customers.… This is not our ________. Our customers must come first and everyone involved in creating this ________ situation must come to their ________.” A further problem for BA is that nearly 100 airplanes and 1,000 pilots and cabin crew are still at the ________ airports around the world. BA said it would take days to clear the ________.

 

 

wrong
dispute
speedy
senses
misery
chaotic
backlog
urge


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘cabin’ and ‘pilot’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the gap fill. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “FLYING” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about airplanes, airports and flying.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • catering
  • operations
  • waiting
  • baggage
  • sacked
  • deadlock
  • urge
  • speedy
  • dispute
  • senses
  • wrong
  • backlog

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you think when you first saw this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. What are your thoughts on the striking workers?
  4. Do you / Would you belong to a union?
  5. Are strikes common in your country?
  6. If you were a passenger, would you feel sorry for the workers who were fired?
  7. What would you if you had to spend 48 hours at an airport?
  8. What do you think of airplane food?
  9. Do you like flying?
  10. Have you ever had to wait a long time for a plane, train, or bus?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Are you impressed with the service on airlines?
  4. Do you think flying is the best way of traveling?
  5. Would you like to be a pilot or flight attendant?
  6. Have you ever experienced disrupted travel services?
  7. What is your impression of British Airways?
  8. What’s the biggest problem you’ve faced in your life?
  9. What do you think of your country’s national airline?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

FLYING: You have been asked by the airline industry to make recommendations on how to improve air travel. In pairs / groups, write down the biggest problem with each of the categories below. Decide on three suggestions for their improvement. Agree on and circle how serious the “present problem” is (1 = very bad, 5 = wonderful).

CATEGORY

PRESENT PROBLEM

RECOMMENDATIONS

Food

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

In-flight entertainment

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

The seat

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

Baggage

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

Checking in

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

Other

 

 

 

1    2    3    4    5

1.

2.

3.

Change partners and explain what you discussed with your previous partner(s). Give each other feedback on your ideas. Combine your ideas to make your recommendations even better (you have to agree on the three best recommendations).

Return to your original partners and discuss any changes you made.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

British Airways strike almost over

A strike by _________ workers at London’s Heathrow airport has created chaos for thousands of air passengers. It has also _________ affected the operations of British Airways (BA). Up to 70,000 travelers are waiting at or near the airport, not _________ when, or if, they will fly. Several hundred baggage handlers, cargo staff and other workers went on strike in _________ of 800 employees who were _________ by the US catering firm Gate Gourmet. A meeting is expected between unions and Gate Gourmet to break the _________.

BA’s Chief Executive Rod Eddington said: “I _________ the management of Gate Gourmet and senior [union] officials to find a _________ resolution to this crisis and end the misery they are _________ on our customers.… This is not our dispute. Our customers must come first and everyone involved in creating this _________ situation must come to their senses.” A further problem for BA is that nearly 100 airplanes and 1,000 pilots and cabin crew are still at the _________ airports around the world. BA said it would take days to clear the _________.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on British Airways (or any other airline). Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. LETTER: Imagine you were stranded at London’s Heathrow airport for 48 hours, waiting for a flight to return to your home country. Write a letter to the British Airways CEO to complain. Ask him for compensation. Read your letters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all have similar complaints and demands for compensation?

4. DIARY / JOURNAL: Imagine you had to wait at London’s Heathrow airport for 48 hours. Write your diary / journal entry for that time. Read your entry to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. F

c. T

d. F

e. T

f. T

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

strike

industrial action

b.

severely

seriously

c.

baggage

luggage

d.

sacked

fired

e.

deadlock

stalemate

f.

urge

ask

g.

crisis

mess

h.

heaping

piling

i.

dispute

argument

j.

chaotic

confused

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

catering

workers

b.

severely affected

the operations of British Airways

c.

baggage

handlers

d.

went on strike in

support of 800 employees

e.

break

the deadlock

f.

find a speedy resolution

to this crisis

g.

end

the misery

h.

come to their

senses

i.

pilots

and cabin crew

j.

take days to clear

the backlog

GAP FILL:

British Airways strike almost over

A strike by catering workers at London’s Heathrow airport has created chaos for thousands of air passengers. It has also severely affected the operations of British Airways (BA). Up to 70,000 travelers are waiting at or near the airport, not knowing when, or if, they will fly. Several hundred baggage handlers, cargo staff and other workers went on strike in support of 800 employees who were sacked by the US catering firm Gate Gourmet. A meeting is expected between unions and Gate Gourmet to break the deadlock.

BA’s Chief Executive Rod Eddington said: “I urge the management of Gate Gourmet and senior [union] officials to find a speedy resolution to this crisis and end the misery they are heaping on our customers.… This is not our dispute. Our customers must come first and everyone involved in creating this chaotic situation must come to their senses.” A further problem for BA is that nearly 100 airplanes and 1,000 pilots and cabin crew are still at the wrong airports around the world. BA said it would take days to clear the backlog.

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