10 people that you always see at an airport…

It’s holiday time – yay!

It’s holiday time – yay! You’ve survived the painfully long wait, as well as the atmospherically explosive night before as you scrambled to pack a few last minute items, and you’ve survived that gruelling crack-of-dawn taxi journey to the airport – congratulations! But once you reach the airport, it’s a whole different story – you’re plunged into a real concrete jungle that contains some of the most exotic species known to man – the ten people you meet at an airport.

1. The devious check-in assistant

As you pull your luggage from out of the taxi’s boot and wave farewell to it, it’s time to enter the airport. You wheel your way to the check-in desk and when you arrive you’re greeted by the devilish smile of the check-in assistant. Immaculately dressed in the uniforms of their employers, they bear their sparkling white teeth as they welcome you and ask for your check in documents. But you’re under constant fear that your luggage is overweight, and the check-in assistant knows it – you put your luggage onto the conveyor belt and pray. Luckily, you’ve travelled light, and you’re safe. Except, they tempt you with that all-important extra leg room…Time to make a run for it.

2. The wand-wielding security guard

As you make your escape from the check-in desk, you come face to face with the dreaded security check part of the terminal. This is a pretty tense place – as you step through the scanner, you pray that it doesn’t buzz. It buzzes. You’ve blundered and left your belt on – or was it some loose change in your pocket? Either way, you now have to face a frisking by a wand-wielding security guard, who beckons you forward. You stand there, arms up, feet apart, feeling the sweat trickle down your brow and after a few awkward moments, he announces that you’re clean, and releases you from your scarecrow-like position. You scurry away and collect your belongings from the trays and gleefully skip to the departure lounge.

3. The lingering Duty Free assistant

At last, you’re in the departure lounge! After you’ve inevitably queued for an extortionately priced bacon sandwich, you make your way to the duty free. As you decide which aftershave/perfume you want to drown yourself in (Come on, it’s free…) you’re interrupted by a ruthless predator – the obsessive Duty Free assistant who just won’t leave you alone. They bombard with the latest product, offering you samples and lengthy sales pitches, where the only way out comes in the form of you actually buying the product. Head held low as you waste your money, you shamefully walk away as the predator moves on to their next victim.

4. The cabin crew of your flight

As you make your way to the gate at a slow, tired pace, you’re overtaken by your flight’s cabin crew and staff. Like their check in assistant cousins, they’re immaculately dressed and stride effortlessly past you with their suitcases gracefully wheeling behind them. You can only stand in awe as you’re deafened by the unmistakable clip-clop sound of their heels and polished shoes coming from the other end of the terminal, and you can only wonder how they manage to look so immaculate. Like us students, probably lots of caffeine.

Image: David Mellis

5. The seat hoggers

As you brush yourself off from the recent ordeals, you look for a place to dump your luggage and put your feet up – alas, all of the seats are taken. The most notorious creatures for this are the seat hoggers. Yep, you know the ones; the ones who sprawl across four seats at a time who have no intention of moving. They also tend to put their wide array of bags on the seats around them in order to reserve them for friends or simply be annoying. As a result, you either have to stand around awkwardly and pretend to check your phone, or you brave it and sit on the floor against the wall.

6. The ‘out cold’ sleeping seat hoggers

A close cousin to the seat hogger, the out cold’ seat hogger poses the same threat .These ones, however, tend to be sat upright. You observe them from a distance, and notice that they’re completely out – their hoods are up and the drawstrings are completely pulled together, and have rendered their face invisible, and you daren’t disturb their eternal slumber. Like with the sleeping seat hogger, you resort to sitting down on the floor and begin to ponder whether you’ll ever rise up the hierarchy, or whether you’ll get there early enough to secure a seat of your own.

7. The miserable, inaudible tannoy operator

Occasionally, you’re greeted with the miserable and monotonous tone of the tannoy operator. Unlike the cabin crew, they probably haven’t had their Red Bull this morning and therefore take it out on you and the other passengers by deliberately making it difficult for you to hear their announcements. Maybe that’s why the person below hasn’t turned up yet…

8. The mystery person whose name is always called out

As you shamefully sit on the floor or awkwardly wander around (or perhaps you’ve found a seat) you can’t help but wonder who that mystery person that the miserable tannoy operator keeps referring to is. They’re obviously incredibly important, despite the fact that they never seem to appear. Perhaps one day you’ll see who they are, but for now, you’re just going to have to let them delay your plane for another half an hour…

9. The dapper businessman

When you do manage to find a seat, you feel like a boss, and you’re able to put up your feet and scoff at those who were in your previous position sat on the floor. But as you begin to relax, a powerful, pretentious and dapperly-dressed businessmen elegantly plonks himself next to you and makes himself comfortable. He whips his smartphone out of his slim-fitting suit jacket and deliberately places his elbow into your personal space. He begins to check his emails, and when you manage to steal a glance over his intrusive limb, you can’t help but wonder where he’s going, what he does, and who he’s having lunch with tomorrow afternoon. You then shrink back into your seat and scold yourself for even daring to operate on the same level as him. Shame on you.

9. The ‘coughs and sneezes spread diseases’ person (literally, they’re the ones that spread them…)

After moving away from the swanky jungle predator, you find yourself next to someone forged from the backwash of your own nightmares – the sneezer or the cougher, or if you’re incredibly unlucky, a hybrid of both. They cough and sneeze every 2 minutes, occasionally deploying all of their germs into a weak, paper thin tissue. You can occasionally hear their mating call, which comes in the form of an excessively loud sneeze that can be heard for miles. And they just don’t stop, ever. This un-exotic species will even follow you onto the plane itself, where their germs will quite happily frolic about and make friends with everyone. They can also be found on buses, where they pose a similar threat. Approach with caution.

10. The over the top ‘emotional farewell’ person.

Lastly, there’s the person giving an exaggerated farewell to someone over the phone. They perch on the edge of their seats in the departure lounge and open the flood gates. Hell, you could probably swim to your destination with the amount of tears they’re shedding – at least you’d beat the delays! I mean, we all love a good farewell phone call, but they take it to the next level.

I’ve documented these 10 types of people from my most recent trip to the airport, so I’ve probably missed out loads of others. Do let me know in the comments what other ones you spot!

Image: Angelo DiSantis