We’ve all spent (whether willingly or unwillingly) our fair share of time at the airport. As kids, this magical place was a wonder to behold, thanks to the sheer sight of planes taking off and landing, but as we grow older, the excitement of air travel seems to diminish with each trip. Blame it on the long queues, hours of waiting, surly airline staff; whatever it may hold, we pretty much just want to get to our destination. Like, 10 minutes ago.
Much like the experience of Tom Hanks’ character in ‘The Terminal’, or the real-life story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri which inspired it, the airport becomes a microcosm of society we live in. Here are the 10 types of people you’re bound to meet while in transit (and no, it’s not the Jolie-Pitt family).
1. The Jam Packers
Or also known as, the people who have no sense of weight whatsoever. “What do you mean I have to take stuff out or I can’t board? An extra Kg costs WHAT?!”
Particularly prevalent in Asian countries, the Jam Packers need 30 changes of clothes for a weekend off in Bali. This does not include extra swimsuits, just-in-case-winterwear and an overly large cosmetics bag that could service the entire crew of Cirque du Soleil.
Most commonly seen: By the side of the baggage counter trying to cram the warehouse into their carry-ons. Good luck, guys.
2. The Rushers
This could very well be you – but we hope not, dear readers. They either forgot they had a flight, or woke up late. Often disheveled, breathless and with mismatching socks, all the rushers want is for you to MOVE so they can charge to the finishing line. Heck, they could give Usain Bolt a run for his money in the 200m sprint… with luggage to boot.
Most commonly seen: A barreling force rushing by you, leaving nothing but wind in their wake OR at the boarding gates begging the unfortunate lady to LET THEM GET ON.
3. The Strollers
On the flipside of the Rushers are the Strollers. These people literally have all the time in the world! They arrive 3 hours early, float through the baggage check-in section and are impeccably put together. They have time for a full-course meal, a relaxed cuppa and a generous toilet break before wafting the waiting lounge. Usually, the strollers are flying business or first class so the earlier they get to the lounge, the more free champagne they get to have.
Most commonly seen: At the café sipping on a frothing cappuccino, leisurely reading a book.
4. The Hoity-toity Businesspeople
Clickety-clack, go their high heels and heeled shoes. Chatter chatter, tap tap, go their phones. Chic and well-assembled, these businesspeople are as efficient as their phone batteries (don’t they EVER run dry?!) and move swiftly from station to station right into the business lounge without making eye contact with you, the plebian. They have no time for man, and definitely won’t give you the time of the day.
Most commonly seen: In the business lounge, settling what looks like a billion dollar merger. (What if all they’re doing is scrolling through their Facebook, we wonder.)
5. The Campers
The Campers don’t have it easy. There are two types: a) the unwilling camper or b) the budget-baller camper. Unshaven, fatigued, unwilling types are most often the victim of a super long flight delay or a layover while the willing types are determined vultures who are all efficiently packed and ready for a free flight announcement. How do you differentiate one from the other? Easy, just look for the steely look of determination versus the look of despair.
Most commonly seen: Coming out of the washroom, drying their hair or unglamorously flopping over a seat.
6. The Families
Family holidays are great! For the Families, that is (and not the rest of us). Loud, chattering herds of mums, aunts, uncles, children and brooding dads don’t make the airport a bad place… if they only knew how and where to stand. Often causing major blockages in the narrowest of pathways and hogging huge sections of eateries, the Families are the Rushers’ worst enemies.
Note: The Families with screaming infants are several times more lethal.
Most commonly seen: Herding in groups, either in cafes or occupying huge amounts of space in the waiting area.
7. The Weirdo
Also known as: The One Most Likely To Sit Next To You. He’s got a nervous twitch, a creepy smile, and darting eyes. That, or she picks at her fingernails incessantly, has wide, glassy eyes and offers you edible bugs she bought in Bangkok. Often parting crowds like the Red Sea, the weirdos are blissfully oblivious to their surroundings, and are prone to causing bouts of discomfort among most parties.
Most commonly seen: Beside the water fountain, suspiciously rummaging through their duffels, talking to themselves, or with their faces pressed against the glass of the waiting room.
8. The Grad-Trippers
Loud and similar to the Families, the group of grad-trippers may become people who make you wonder if doing jail time is worth their murder. Seemingly ignorant to normal decibel levels, the Grad-Trippers travel in herds and are always armed with their smartphones. They often stop abruptly in narrow passageways to pose for a group shot selfie. The worse version of the Grad-Trippers: the Drunken Grad-Trippers.
Most commonly seen: Beside the Families.
9. The Impatient Frequent Flyer
Constantly emitting sighs of exasperation behind you in the security check queue. Profanities are often mumbled under their breaths, coupled with impatient glances and restless tappings on their phones. Why, why they wonder, can’t people get their stuff together? The Impatient Frequent-Flyer could also be a hybrid of The Hoity-toity Businesspeople, just with less privileges and no business lounges. Perhaps that’s why they’re so upset all the time.
Most commonly seen: In queues, staring daggers at everyone else.
10. The Weary Suspected Terrorist
“I’m just going to visit my aunt. Yes, that is my name. No, I’m not a terrorist. What do you mean I look like Bin Laden?!”
If you’ve ever met this guy, you can’t help but feel desperately sorry for him… but also annoyed because he’s holding up the security check line! Everyone but airport security knows he’s not a threat, but what can anyone do about it? A loving message to said airport security: a long name that is unfamiliar to you does not equate a suspected terrorist.
Most commonly seen: Pulled beside the security check line and made to explain every item in his carry-on.
That’s our pick, what about yours? Do you have any airport tales to share?
Main Photo Credit: Photo by Masatoshi Okauchi / Rex Features (1489458d)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with children (l-r) Zahara, Knox, Maddox, Shiloh, Pax and Vivienne
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and children at Haneda International airport, Tokyo, Japan – 08 Nov 2011
The family arrived in Japan to promote Brad’s new film ‘Money Ball’