The 9 Types of People You’ll Find Hanging Out in Airports

Jan 20, 2018

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Time to be honest: Which kind of airport dweller are you?

Busy terminals see millions of people pass through their halls every year, but look closely and most of these travelers have the same personality traits. Everyone kills time in similar ways: eating, drinking, lounging, shopping, or freaking out. Hey, whatever works, right? Take a look and see which kind of airport resident most closely resembles you.

1. The Bag People

Bag Man and Bag Lady are perhaps the easiest passengers to spot. As if their oversized check-in luggage didn’t already make them stand out, unzipping those giant bags on the floor and trying to rearrange their contents when they find out the bag’s overweight certainly will. Perhaps they’re moving cross-country and toting along all their possessions — or perhaps they require 20 wardrobe changes. You’ll never know, but you will wonder if they finally made it onboard.

2. The Juice Monster

We’re not talking green juice. These wild animals are addicted to digital juice. They’ve got more cords than Medusa had snakes. When they do spot an unattended electrical outlet, it’s as though the pearly gates of heaven open just for them. All 18 of their devices are hovering around 10% battery life, so get outta their way — iPhones, Kindles, iPads, laptops and back-up chargers all need charging.

3. The Lounge Lizard

If you spot one of these elusive creatures, consider yourself lucky. Speeding through security like total pros (you better believe they have TSA Precheck), they beeline to their safe havens full of free booze, free Wi-Fi and freedom from the extremely loud and incredibly close quarters of regular waiting areas for regular people. Emerging from hiding at the last possible moment, they waltz into Group One and scan their tickets. Fair warning: They might be skittish when they come into contact with people from outside their happy place. They’re not rude; they’re simply not into mingling.

4. The Olympic Sprinter

The complete opposite of the cool-as-a-cuke slinky Lounge Lizard, here comes the passenger who quite simply can’t move fast enough. He could nab Olympic qualifying times for the speeds with which he darts from his Uber through the revolving doors and the skilled way he swerves through security line stanchions (“Can I cut? My flight leaves in 20 minutes,” is one gem you might overhear.) Ultimately, there’s the final push — the all-out, lung-busting gallop to the gate just before it closes. Whew. He makes it. He somehow always seems to make it.

The Olympic Sprinter. (Photo by UpperCut Images/Getty Images)
The Olympic Sprinter. (Photo by UpperCut Images/Getty Images)

5. The Bottomless Gourmand

This gastronome has definitely thought about her last meal on Earth and she aims to eat that last meal in the airport, as though she’s never going to be back on land again. Six kinds of sushi? Shake Shack burger? Pretzel? Sure, why not. She understands that a Vacation Diet (or lack of) doesn’t start at your destination — it begins the second you enter the airport and poof! all your willpower vanishes. Some also pack their own homemade multi-course meals, which they dig in to 15 minutes into flying. Go on, ask ‘em for a grape. Make a new friend.

6. The Thirsty Barfly

What’s better than tiny in-flight drinks? Full-sized drinks before your flight! Pre-gaming is this one’s specialty and they love starting a trip saddled up to the bar, talking about all their adventures to come (or terrible work conferences). As they reach the bottom of each drink, they get chattier and chattier. If you can, point them in the direction of a Gourmand. They could use some food.

The Thirsty Barfly. (Photo by
The Thirsty Barfly. (Photo by

7. The Overzealous Vacationer

After completely forgetting she promised Aunt Susie a tchotchke from her trip, you can find her at Hudson News, buying every last state-branded keychain, T-shirt and magnet. But she simply must get something for herself, too; how else will she remember this journey? (Those 327 Instagrams don’t count.) Stray too close and you’ll get an earful about tour guides and scenic drives and “Wasn’t that the best dim sum ever?” Have Kleenex at the ready. They’ll need it when they land back home and realize vacation’s over.

8. The Wide-Eyed Worrywart

Why do I have to take off my shoes? How big is the airplane bathroom? Is my shampoo more than three ounces?! Bill them by the question and you’ll be Warren Buffett. Flying makes plenty of people anxious and these worriers manifest their fears into over-preparation, frantic interrogations and Googling “plane crashes throughout history” right before boarding. Ironically, these travelers spend the most time in the place they like the least; they’re the only people to actually show up at the airport three hours before take-off. Be nice and buy them a drink.

9. The Long-Haulers

Finally, there are the downtrodden, bleary-eyed, limp souls whose bodies have molded to their airport chairs or makeshift sleeping quarters. They’ve been camped out waiting for their delayed flights for hours and hours, possibly overnight. Who can remember? Their greatest fear in life is the unholy intercom phrase “Sorry folks, it’s gonna be another hour!” But don’t worry—these hardy souls will get to their destinations … some day. Pray for them.

Illustration by Getty Images

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