Grapevine: The five types of people you see at the airport

If you are one of the countless students who used their spring break to travel to some far-off location, chances are your trip involved traveling on an airplane — and spending time in an airport.

As with anything else, airports present a wide range of experiences. They range from excellent, with short, easy TSA lines and an on-time departure, to the nightmarish airport experience, involving a jam-packed airport, angry travelers, delays and everything in between.

Those of you with numerous airport experiences have probably started to notice a common trend among the types of people you see at the airport. So, let’s look at five of the types of people we encounter at the airport. Fly on!

The disorganized person

This person just can’t seem to get it together. You typically see them in the security line, where they fail to get into the TSA pre-check line and get directed into the right one by officers. This person then holds the line up at the TSA podium as they struggle to sift through their wallet, as well as their front and back shirt pockets, to find their boarding pass and ID. Naturally, they are also dragging along several huge bags that are filled to the brim and not fully zipped up, which inevitably have to go through secondary screenings. If they aren’t stopped for this, they are likely stopped because of something in their pocket, or because they have left on an article of clothing that they should have removed — typically a belt, hat or shoes.

As luck may have it, you may have this person on your flight, and get to spend additional time with them at the gate. There, they will likely take and spread out several of their belongs. This may include a computer and phone, both of which get plugged in, as well as a newspaper or magazine. After all, this person needs to be entertained, though you have no idea how they can concentrate on so many things, or keep track of their belongings.

This person also isn’t shy about asking the gate agent questions, like what time the incoming flight is coming in, when boarding and departure times are and what type of seat upgrades they can get. If you have a delay, you may even consider buying noise cancelling headphones at the airport price just to have a break from their wonderful voice. After spending a limited time around this person, you can only imagine what the other aspects of their life must be like.

The vacationer

Unlike the rest of these categories, this breed can come in the form of a family with children, a group of college kids or the occasional older couple. This person, or group, is easily identifiable, since they are visibly counting down the seconds until their tropical vacation can begin.

In the security line, you’ll hear them giving a detailed description on where they’re going, what type of cocktail they’re going to order and what their first order of business is when they arrive. You can tell just by looking at them that they are already in vacation mode — they are wearing some sort of sun hat or fedora, flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt beneath their winter jacket, despite the fact that it’s snowing at your departure location.

At the terminal, they’re seen at the fanciest restaurant, as far as airports go, with some type of tropical drink and expensive meal. Piles of vacation clothes can be seen anytime one of these people opens their suitcase, and you can’t help but hope that they have a good time after watching them in such a state of excitement.

You’ll spend the rest of your day thinking about this seemingly professional vacationer. It may even be upsetting that you didn’t get to witness them in action at their final destination.

The stressed parent

At every airport, there always seems to be a stressed out parent, or parents, with kids who aren’t behaving and/or have some type of nagging issue. This person, or couple, invariably has too many kids than they are mentally equipped to handle, at least at the moment. They struggle to explain to each child what they must do at the security line. Once at the gate, they face a large variety of food and bathroom concerns, inner-sibling conflicts and the endless search for lasting entertainment.

Making matters worse, this airport type may be a variation of the disorganized person, creating an even bigger struggle. After spending a portion of your day watching this poor person, or couple, you just wish they could go wherever the vacationer was off to.

The maniac

This person is seen so visibly upset at all stages of their airport experience that you can’t help but hope they are simply having a bad day. They typically start complaining to the TSA officers, or whoever else may happen to care, about the speed of the line or one of the many security protocols.

As they are going through the airport, they can be heard muttering to themselves about a wide variety of issues and seem far too quick to trigger. Whenever they bump into someone, trip, slip or face any sort of inconvenience, they act as if the world is going to end.

If you have this person on your flight, you’ll get the opportunity to observe them at the gate and on the flight. They aren’t shy about having their voice heard — they’ll complain to the gate agents about timing, how they deserve a seat upgrade and pretty much anything else. Once on the flight, they’ll make a negative remark about the comfort levels of the seats, pillows, earplugs and/or sleep masks. They’ll also ask the flight attendant ridiculous questions, like what flight path the plane is on, or what the wind direction is at their final destination.

The best part about this person is their self-bickering. Anytime they receive an answer that is unsatisfactory — which they pretty much always are — they complain nonstop to themselves as if doing so will make them happier. Once a fellow traveler is exposed to this person, even remotely, they’ll do everything they can to stay away.

The average person

If you took all of the people at all the airports in the country, and then found the most average person, it would be this traveler. They are typically quiet and focused on minding their own business. They say and do the minimal amount, making it clear that they want to go through the airport as pain free as possible. When they get told to go back through the security machine, they do it without question. They’re lined up at their gate before boarding time and have their boarding pass out and ready. They are the polar opposite of the disorganized person and just want to make it to their next destination peacefully.

That being said, we’re forgetting that this person is still human. They get angered by delays, disgruntled when the gate agent politely tells them that they’ll have to check their bag and visibly frustrated when the maniac or disorganized person does anything to hold up the flight’s progress. Like the rest of us, they just want to arrive at their next destination and move on with their life.

Contact CU Independent Sports Staff writer Jack Stern at

Jack Stern

Jack Stern is a staff sports writer for the CU Independent. He is a know-it-all sports fan who soaks up anything sports related. His favorite sports are football, baseball, and basketball, but is always excited to learn about, and cover other sports. For story ideas, he can be contacted at or by phone at 718-938-5846.

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