7 Types of People You're Guaranteed to Meet at Every Single Airport
From precautionary belt-removing guy to anxious pre-boarding mother...
The airport is a strange place. It’s the gateway to the world of adventure and the life of your dreams, and yet somehow, it’s probably the singular most stress-filled place in any given city.
The airport is probably the only place in the world where elation and wanderlust clash with chaos and over-exaggerated panic on a daily basis.
On the one hand you’ve got the laidback, level-headed travellers, who turn up at the airport looking forward to their journey and capable of continuing to complete simple tasks like waiting, walking short distances and purchasing a beverage without tearing their clothes off and running into a wall.
On the other hand you’ve got those who are incapable of completing such actions, and who seem to descend into a self-centred state of hearty selfishness, irrational terror or complete lunacy whenever they’re on their way to catch a flight
The end result of course is that at the majority of airports there’s a good chance you’re going to be surrounded by an absolute downpour of bell-ends. Here are a few more specific examples of such bell-ends, in the order in which they are usually encountered.
1) Precautionary Belt-Removing Guy in Queue for Security
This guy is normally a guy. And he’s normally about 60 years old. Let’s call him Nigel.
Now, this isn’t Nigel’s first time in an airport – and he wants everyone to know it. He knows what the deal is with security; he knows what to take off and what to keep on, but for some reason he’s not yet clocked onto the fact that it actually only takes a second or two to take off a belt.
Subsequently, as soon as Nigel joins the queue at airport security, he whips off his belt, takes off his shoes, gets his Kindle and his liquids out of his bag, balances his wallet, keys, phone and a portrait of his grandson on top of the now giant pile in front of him, and does so with such aplomb that you wonder why he didn’t just wait until he got to the security trays before beginning his venomous strip-tease.
His wife hasn’t seen Nigel move that fast since they made sweet, sweet love in Madeira on their honeymoon thirty years back, and watches on with a nostalgic, lamenting look in her eye.
Nigel proceeds to waddle around the growing queue, keeping one hand on his waistline at all times so his trousers don’t fall down when he walks. Keen for those around him to acknowledge his understanding of the airport security routine, he peeks over his stack of accessories to make eye-contact with those around him whenever possible, judging them internally for having the audacity to wait until they’re at the front of the 15 minute-long queue to take their passport out their pocket and pop it in the tray.
Nigel is a dickhead. Don’t be Nigel.
2) Selfish Tray Teenager Re-Collecting Items After Security
Cas has made it through security without making the metal-detector beep. Obviously. She doesn’t make mistakes. Her full name is Casandra but if you call her that she’ll claw your fucking eyes out.
She strides to the front of the conveyor belt where people are re-collecting their items after they’ve been x-rayed for drugs and alcohol and animals and bombs and shit and slips her way to the very front of the queue, so she can get her phone back, stick in her earphones again and finally escape from the “shower of c*nts" who paid for her entire holiday and get back to listening to ‘Views from the 6’ by Drake. She doesn’t actually like the music but it’s important to keep listening so it appears on her ‘recently played’.
Having tutted away as two trays that didn’t belong to her came out of the conveyor belt, Cas’ tray at last emerges and she stops it on the belt as soon as possible to begin the slow restocking of her stuff, neglecting to give a fuck about the fact that this means every other tray behind hers is now left in timeless limbo until she’s finished.
A member of airport staff asks her kindly if she can take her tray over to one of the designated areas before packing up her stuff again. Having refitted her earphones, Cas ignores the suggestion and allows the trays to pile up behind her.
Cas slowly refits a belt, sends a couple of Instagram photos and SnapChats of how happy she is to be going on holiday – fit with golden-crown-made-of-leaves filter on SnapChat of course – then sticks another needle in the voodoo doll she made to represent her best friend Claire and walks quickly off to continue trying to fuck up her parents’ life.
Casandra is a bitch. Don’t be Casandra.
3) Rowdy Lads at Wetherspoons or Equivalent
Keith, Keith-o and Keithy are at the airport bar getting drinks for themselves and Keith Jnr. and Keith II. They’ve all got polo shirts on and for some reason are wearing cargo shorts, possibly because they all still have posters of a young Adam Sandler garnering their bedroom walls.
Their polo shirts have “Keiths for the Beach" on the back and they think it rhymes. They’ve been standing at the bar for two minutes before Keith-o, seemingly to nobody, but very, very loudly, grunts “How-cha-get-a-drink-around-here-man?!"
Keithy responds by grunting “gonna-have-a-drink-or-two-like!" and they all laugh so, so, so loudly – why so loudly? – despite the lack of any sort of punchline. It’s a sound similar to what we reckon would emerge if you punched a sheep then mixed the recording with one of those comedy squeaking horns.
They start talking about Chlamydia and continue to burst out in laughter at half-finished sentences as they struggle to grasp language and speech as a concept, driving all nearby families to the far-corners of the airport in the process.
The Keiths are the worst. Don’t be the Keiths.
4) Obnoxious Plug-Hunter With Extremely Low Battery
Obnoxious plug-hunting person with extremely low battery can take pretty much any shape, form, size, gender or age, such is the world we live in. So let’s go with Jamie.
Jamie has such low battery. Jamie has lower battery than you. And Jamie needs electronic devices far, far more than anyone else in the airport possibly ever could. Jamie has work to do. That’s why Jamie has been staring at the travellers currently occupying the plug sockets for the past 5 minutes.
Jamie must act. Jamie grabs a mobile phone and calls someone similar to Jamie and walks over to the plugs and speaks slowly and clearly, with an obvious frustration, about how low the battery levels are on his device, neglecting to acknowledge that by being on the phone, Jamie is only using up further battery life.
Jamie is wearing a suit and has a Mac and wants to charge his Mac too. Why won’t you give up your plug socket to Jamie?
Jamie is sitting next to you while your phone charges and is going to ask the exact percentage of the battery level on your phone, possibly even requesting proof, before claiming whatever the number that you’ve charged it enough and that you should now give up the plug socket so that Jamie can use it. Jamie is sliding slowly closer to you, even as you read. Soon, Jamie will have arrived.
Jamie is what is wrong with the human race. Don’t be Jamie.
5) Anxious Pre-Boarding Mother Who Forgets She’s Human
Debbie hates the sound of her own alarm clock. She really hates it. She hates the way it cuts through her dreams and beeps louder and louder until she can no longer take it anymore and has to get up.
Debbie’s a good mother, but whenever she touches foot in an airport she seems to become temporarily possessed by the embodiment of that anger towards her alarm clock. And worse yet, she becomes somehow convinced that everyone she meets, including her kids, has been transformed into the embodiment of the shrieking noise which wakes her every morning.
Debbie subsequently enters into a frantic state of fanaticism whenever she’s in an airport where she finds herself too shell-shocked and enraged to continue to indulge in the social trend of speaking, breathing or acting in any way like a regular human being.
She tries to pre-board her children until they’re 29 years old, pushes past a woman in a neck-brace to get to the gate before it closes – two hours before it closes – and descends into a state of utter terror, callousness and nonsensical judgement that leads her to roundhouse kick her youngest child in the face when he suggests going to the toilet before they’ve “found a base" to reconvene at near the entrance to gate 19.
It’s unknown exactly why this happens; whether it’s because Debbie is scared of flying, scared of missing her flight, or just scared of continuing to live on in a world where Tom Jones doesn’t love her back. Whatever it is though, it’s got to stop.
Someone who knows Debbie, please try and calm Debbie down.
6) Flock of Travellers Queuing at Gate Before Plane Has Even Arrived
It’s the airport cliché. The sight which has caused so much debate, anger, confusion and downright chaos over the years – the giant queue for boarding that forms at the gate at the airport seemingly hours before the plane has even arrived.
So how does it start? Sometimes, it starts with the flash of “boarding" or “final call" going up on the board at the gate. While we still don’t see the point in queuing at this point – more often than not you have pre-allocated seats. Why bother? – it’s at least obvious why you’re doing so at this point.
Other times though, one person starts the madness prematurely simply by taking their case and strolling to the desk; establishing themselves at the front of a newly-formed queue. Eyes immediately begin to dart around the room and see if anyone else is going to go, and before you know it, everyone is running for the queue for no apparent reason and a full on riot is breaking out.
Pre-boarding mother Debbie withdraws the machete she somehow took through security and scythes at passersby as the Wetherspoon lads shout non-joke punch-lines, obnoxious plug guy fiercely protects his nearby charger and tray-hogging teenager selfish stares emptily into the abyss. The normal people, of course, continue to read their books, or just sit back and watch in intrigue.
But where is precautionary-belt guy from the security queue? Where is precautionary belt-guy and his stupid fucking trilby?
He’s at the front of the new queue of course. It was he – Nigel – who made the first move. He’s been to the airport before. He’s started a queue to join the queue to cross the road to queue at the plane steps to get into the plane and queue to get to your seat. He knows how these things work.
7) Bamboozled Self-Scanning Passport Guy
You’ve made it. The plane trip is over. It was actually quite enjoyable. You got talking to a local who told you all about the history of wherever it is you’re off to and you’ve now got plenty of recommendations for the rest of your journey.
Spirits are high.
You get to passport control. You opt for the electronic self-scanning passports because the queue is significantly smaller. Before you know it you’re second in the queue. You’re flying through. But then it happens.
Herbert has opted for the self-scanning passport queue for the same reasons you did, but he’s way out of his depth here. One time he tried to send an e-mail and only realised he’d got it wrong when the toast popped out a few minutes later.
Now, Herbert doesn’t have the first clue what to do. All he has to do is put his passport face down and stand still for like 15 seconds. Those are two very basic steps. But he’s just chucked his whole passport in there still shut, and now he’s realised he’s got it wrong, and now he’s trapped in the glass box and nobody is helping him. Where are all the staff? Why aren’t they helping him? Should I help him? I don’t want to embarrass him.
Herbert looks round and mumbles something but he’s too proud to ask for help. He tries again with his passport still closed and it still doesn’t work. Someone help Herbert.
He tries to get out of the self-scanning box but the automatic doors have shut him in. Someone help Herbert.
He tries to get the attention of the staff nearby but they’re busy trying to calm down Debbie, who is frantically looking for the passport she’s holding in her hand. Someone help Herbert.
His cane drops to the floor in slow-motion and the sound can be heard for miles around. Someone help Herbert.
He falls to his knees and cries out to the heavens, unable to use the self-serving scanner system, he prepares for a life of loneliness and isolation stuck in that small space boxed off by automatic doors.
Someone help Herbert.