8 types of travellers that I’ve seen in the airport

As a frequent flyer, I spend a LOT of time in airports. Travelling is cool when you actually get somewhere, but the process of actually getting to where you want to be, can be a mind blowingly frustrating or boring experience. So I have a great game you can play when you’re stuck in the airport with nothing to do because of crappy weather in <Insert your large airport of choice> you have very few things to choose from unless you’re in Hong Kong or Heathrow.

From my gazillions of hours spent in airports, I’ve found 6 types of people who are roaming the airports.

  1. Broke and/or stranded traveller
    The funny thing is that there are actually travel bloggers who sleep in airports to save money on a hotel. Good for them! They think that suffering travel martyrdom by sleeping on a disgusting, filthy, shitty airport floor gives them travel cred … then good for them. There’s even websites that can help with sleeping in an airport. There are some pros and cons to this … and hence these people’s madness
    • Pros of Sleeping in Airports
      • It’s free. NUFF SAID
      • It’s quick and no transfer/travel time to the airport. You don’t have to transfer buses and metros, since you’re sleeping at the gate bitch!
      • There’s places to find food, gadgets and magazines. You can eat, read and surf on your phone all day while waiting on the dirty carpets/floors.. There are multiple restaurants and shopping arcades at most airports. Some even have fitness rooms, salons and spa services.
    • Cons of Sleeping in Airports
      • No Comfort : Have you tried sleeping on a park bench or an airport chair.
      • There’s no realsecurity … sleeping in a public place has its risks. You shouldn’t attempt this if you have kids … if you can’t pay for a hotel for your kids, then you should head immediately for sterilization.
      • If you’re in a small country or the Caribbean … not all airports are open 24 hours. Some smaller airports close for the night after the last flight arrives. God help you if you’re in Vietnam and you get kicked out of the aiport at 2 a.m., you might have to sell your soul to find a taxi that won’t rape you on price.
  2. The Veteran Business Traveller (VBT)
    Since I’m a business traveller, this is the type of traveller I see more often than not and I’ve noticed two sub species of them
      • The first type travel with a briefcase and a newspaper only
      • The second type travel with an overnight case.
    • When a flight is delayed, trying to find a working spot in one of the executive lounges can be like an obstacle course. The front desk counter staff also become nasty Nazi types … god forbid that flights be delayed and you bring in a guest into the lounge with you.
    • Business travellers generally act like  they’ve never left the office. Headphones plugged into iPhone or Blackberries running conference calls, while typing emails and ignoring everyone around them while they are always too loud and generally annoying everyone else around them. They’re always in a suit, which annoys me because it is counter intuitive. Wearing a suit gets you perceptually better treatment (front desk staff will attempt to listen to you), wearing a suit is the mark of the neophyte business traveller. The more clothes you wear, the more you have take off to get through a line.
  3. Hippy backpacker traveller
    You know the type … typically douchy male wearing a sarong and some white chick looking like a “pastafarian”. God I hate this type of traveller … I think I hate them more than dairy, which I hate a lot. They think that suffering and being poor for the sake of experience maks them better than the VBT. They’re typically associated with the Broke/Stranded traveller. This type of traveller can be found in sarong and headphones sipping on fair trade tea trying not stroke their balls. They go out of the way to look blase about being in an airport, because it’s a necessary evil on their self actualization journey. God I hate them hard! Ironically, you’ll see one of these pulling out a iPhone to text their friends or facebook, even though they’ve made a vow of poverty by studying Latin or English Literature or other useless shit in university.
  4. Wide eyed, Overexcited Traveller (WOT)
    They’re so excited to be out of the house and going somewhere different that they will take a picture of everything, up to the shit they took in the airport toilet, since it will be part of the slideshow that they post on facebook, to their friends who will be jealous of them.To  be fair, it’s rather nice to be excited about travelling and maybe I’m a little jaded with all these miles on the road. The problem is when I’m stuck being these people, and for some reason I just happen to always be stuck behind or around the Asian Overexcited travellerThis sub species is even more annoying, since they have group travel traits.If you’re ever been around an asian tour bus that drops everyone off for the same pictures etc, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you have 500 photos of air planes parked at the airport gate you are an Overexcited Traveller.
  5. The Gift Shop Traveller
    Walk into duty free and you will probably see these traveller with tons of bags. You can be sure that they’re going to buy tons of useless souvenirs and knick knacks to remember every moment of their trip. I’ve almost always found that these travellers are couples Like the overexcited traveller these travellers will always have a partner.
  6. Can’t travel without my posse travellers
    Typically, this is a sports team or family reunion or bachelor/bachelorette party type situation. They’re all wearing the same outfit, with different names and all within a pack at the airport. I generally like this type of traveller, since they’re wide eyed and bushy tailed about being with their people and there is always an alpha dog that project manages the entire affair so that the group is controlled. This is not to be confused ever with an Asian tour delegation …
  7. Technocratic power seeker traveller (TPS)
    You know this type of traveller. They’re going to be on the ground or a chair, next to a plug/socket/wall outlet. They will have 12 devices hooked up to a USB hub to ensure max connectivity and WiFi access. I’m VERY VERY guilty of being this type of traveller. I make hotel choices based on WiFi speed.TPS travellers are like drug addicts, especially if they are not also business travellers (since all lounges have free WiFi). You will see many TPS travellers just outside the doors of business lounges, since they are trying to tap into that precious supply of free reliable internet.  I’ve skipped out on food and drink (but never the use of a bathroom – since I can check facebook on the throne) and so do other TPS travellers, so they can update facebook and twitter with their rants about how airport, airlines, airline food and lack of airline WiFi sucks.
  8. Super New Anxious Traveller (SNAT)
    They check everything. What time the plane is? The distance to the airport? Weather conditions. Economic reports? Donkey killing rate in Laos? You want a weird negative fact about a place  and these types of traveller will give it to you. If you ask them if they’ve actually been to the country that they’re afraid of, they will create a diversion … Ninja Smoke Bomb or impromptu earthquake … anything to avoid actually answering that question.

American Express has a great tool to find out more about the type of trips you can take, you should try taking the Nextpedition survey to find what type of traveller you are : http://www.nextpedition.com/travel-profiler/quiz.

I had the following profile

  • GastronautSM

    Everybody loves to travel with a Gastronaut. Whether regaling your mates with tales of yesteryear over a pint or just mulling over a snifter of brandy by the fire, you’re always good company. And, with an insatiable appetite for history, you bring more to the dinner party than snappy threads and a bottle of vino. You bring tasty lore and witty repartee.

  • HistocratSM

    Oh great and wise, wandering Histocrat. When others can’t remember the name of that guy, who did that thing, on that date, you do. Because you know all. And, are determined to have been everywhere. You’ve been to the ancient city and studied the forbidden scrolls. You dominate trivia. Intimidate professors. You even know where to get the best sushi. And, if you don’t, your smartphone does.

  • TechnologianSM

    Can you hear the world beckoning, Technologian? Is it the wind or the call of the wild inviting you to frolic with the other woodland creatures? But, first you must find them. Grab your GPS. Don your kinetic-powered, moisture-wicking threads. And, go forth to play amongst the ancient pines with your high-tech toys.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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