English: Can I keep my bag with me?
French: J’peux-tu garder ma sacoche avec moi?
Not only is it important to learn what to say to passengers, it’s also important to understand the French that passengers say to you.
Here’s the situation: you’re preparing the cabin for take off and see a lady holding onto her purse on her lap. You ask her kindly if she could stow the bag under the seat. “Pouvez-vous ranger le sac sous le siège, SVP?” She asks if she can keep her purse with her. How would passengers usually ask this question?
Most other French courses will teach you formal French:
Je peux=I can
Mon sac à main=My purse
Avec moi=With me
Est-ce que=Question marker that turns a statement into a yes/no question.
Je peux garder mon sac à main avec moi.=I can keep my purse with me.
Est-ce que je peux garder mon sac à main avec moi?=Can I keep my purse with me?
Although the above question is technically correct, your French Canadian passengers likely won’t say that. Firstly, as stated in our last post, they’re likely to use “sacoche” instead of “sac à main.”
Also, in Canadian French, instead of using “est-ce que” to turn a statement into a yes/no question, they often use “-tu”.
Je peux=I can
J’peux=I can (colloquial pronunciation)
J’peux-tu garder ma sacoche avec moi?=Can I keep my purse with me?
Other French courses generally won’t put so much emphasis on colloquial French, especially Canadian French colloquialisms. However, as a flight attendant, half your job will be to speak to passengers, for which you can use formal French, but the other half is listening to and understanding your passengers, many of whom will NOT speak to you using textbook French.
Want to learn to speak the French you need to work as a flight attendant? Learn even more with Canadian French for Flight Attendants.