10 of the Most Annoying People You See at the Airport

Posted by - April 20, 2015 | Category: Library

In a more perfect world, airline travel would be free from stress, all passengers and airport workers would be polite and courteous, and delays would be non-existent. We’d also all be holding hands and singing Kumbaya while waiting for our flights. Since none of those things is going to happen anytime soon, let’s work on some things we can change — notably, the habits of annoying people at the airport.

We all have our pet peeves when it comes to other people’s behaviour. I’ve written before about the annoying games airline passengers play and the annoying habits of hotels so I thought it only proper to open up about what riles me up about fellow travellers at the airport.

If you see yourself on the list, now’s a good time to fess up.

10 Most Annoying People You See at the Airport

escapes vintage compass

1. The person who doesn’t realize water is a liquid.

Woman drinking bottle of cola

You can also substitute moisturizer, Aqua Net, coffee, soup, slurpees — just about anything that is an actual liquid really. This liquid mule likes to hold up the security line with their contraband cola and stowaway soda. Can usually be heard uttering, “Oh. I forgot that was in there.”

2. The person who hasn’t been on a plane since the year 2000.

Man explaining to woman what radar is

Because we all know what happened in 2001. We started having to take our laptops and liquids out, and our shoes off, that’s what happened. This particular person doesn’t realize you just can’t just waltz up to the departure gate anymore. Can usually be found under the tutelage of security personnel, who use diagrams, mime, and sometimes puppets to explain the rules to them.

3. The person who puts their bag before humanity.

Vintage black and white woman with suitcases on bench

Also goes by the moniker Seat Hog. This traveller believes their carry-on, coat, and duty-free shopping bags all deserve their own seat. Old ladies and the infirm be damned!

4. The person who forgets they’re at the airport to actually take a flight.

Man alone at bar with drink

Usually found drinking it up at the airport bar, this type of passenger is the bane of airline gate agents everywhere, and is currently the subject of a new type of phenomenon — passenger shaming. Well at least in the Netherlands. Airline staff at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport announce the offending passenger’s name followed by, “You are delaying the flight! Immediate boarding please at gate XYZ or we will proceed to offload your luggage.” Oh those ballsy Dutch.

5. The person who thinks the flight is going to leave without them.

Nervous woman vintage

Skulking directly in front of the boarding gate is the natural habitat of this offender, waiting for the first sign of any movement towards boarding the plane. Can also be found hounding the gate agent for early boarding or seat upgrades with any number of vague excuses or ailments. “I’ve got scoliosis/arrythmia/nervous tic disorder/Stockholm Syndrome — I NEED to get on that plane early to settle myself.”

6. The person with the free range kids.

Boy with suitcases black and white

Having given up on the enforcement side of parenting, this person occupies a wondrous zone somewhere between oblivion and neglect, not realizing (or perhaps just not caring) the havoc their spawn are creating in the space around them.

7. The person who doesn’t understand how escalators work.

Father and daugter with luggage staring into the distance

Can usually be found scratching their head at the top, or bottom, of just about any escalator in the complex, blocking the path for those trying to get on or off. This particular passenger regrettably suffers from a similar ailment — hogging the entire width of the moving walkway. Move outta the way pal, this is an assembly line, and you’re hampering production.

8. The person who thinks the airport is an extension of their living room.

Man sitting on the couch reading

Can be spotted with their shoes off and their feet extended to whatever structure is handy, though primarily it’s the seat across from them. This type of annoying airport passenger generally leaves their coffee cup and newspaper scattered on the floor when they finally board as well, firm in the belief that their mother does indeed work there.

9. The person with the emotional baggage (AKA The Carousel Cuckoo)

Man in love with his suitcase

This person suffers from the most foul of ailments — the unrestrained need to hog the baggage carousel. Can be spotted precisely at the point where baggage exits the carousel, not-so-silently cursing when their’s is not the first out of the chute. Similarly, this person is prone to extended bouts of baggage confusion — picking up luggage that is not theirs, then firing it back in unfettered disgust.

10. The person who has their shit together.

glamorous woman at airport

Seen gliding effortlessly through the airport, fashionably — yet practically — dressed, this type of passenger exudes an unassuming confidence while travelling. Doors open for them. They whisk through the security line. They get upgraded without asking. Their phone is inexplicably always fully charged. And they always have their boarding pass and passport at the ready, open to the identification page. In short, they are the perfect passenger. And that’s why they’re annoying — because mortal souls like us will never be like them.

escapes vintage compass

What annoying behaviour have you seen at the airport?

All black and white images courtesy of Shutterstock

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54 comments - add one
  1. I can’t believe you neglected to mention those travellers who describe their delight in taking one of those “greasy airport sh*ts”!!!

  2. How about everyone who crowds the luggage carousel. If everyone took 2 steps back we could all see and not freak out that we have 2 seconds to grab the bag before slamming into the person next to us.

  3. LOVED this post! I used to work at the airport for an airline and wow, you nailed these types of people! Having been a gate agent I know exactly the types that are afraid they are going to be left behind (especially the standby passengers who have literally formed a circle around the gate podium waiting to be called) and the guy in the bar, holding up the flight. Has happened SO many times – I like how the Dutch handle that one! 🙂
    For three years I worked in the baggage service office and witnessed the type of passenger you described waiting for their bags to arrive.
    There is another type of annoying passenger that could be added to this list: The passenger who tries to get everyone involved in their particular discrepancy with the airline. If there is a delay for example, they are the ones who will start talking to other passengers, saying things like, “This is ridiculous. We should sue” and “This is the worst airline I’ve ever encountered and I fly all the time”.
    Great post! 🙂

    1. Thanks Ligeia! Glad you liked it!

      I think I have a name for that type of instigator your referring to — from this moment forth, I shall dub that passenger The Airline Brockovich. 😉

  4. I admit to being guilty of no. 4 at least a couple of times. One time my name was called out a few times delaying the flight probably for more than 10 minutes. The moment I got on the plane, the door was closed and the plane started moving right away. What’s worse, I had to do a catwalk all the way to the back where my seat was located while other passengers looked like they were ready to kill me. 🙂

    1. That happened to me in Oman! I was waiting at the wrong gate, even though my ticket and the display screens said I was at the correct. Apparently they were calling my name, but announcements made upstairs can’t be heard when you’re downstairs at the wrong gate. 🙁

  5. Guilty of being #5 when my flight to Amsterdam was late and I thought I was going to miss my connecting flight back to Canada. After running like a mad thing I realized the flight was delayed…fail.

    1. Don’t you just hate when that happens? I’ve bolted through airports a number of times only to find my connection has been delayed. But I suppose that that’s better than the flight having left. 🙂

  6. Love your writing!
    Don’t forget the people who are a bit too social and desperately want to tell their story. Unfortunately looking at the time in a subtle way doesn’t make the person go away or doesn’t make the time pass by.

  7. would you hate me if I say that sometimes I’m a bit like number 10…? But just a bit, not all the time… My mom is number 5 and my dad is (sometimes) number 9… They have issues.

    1. Oh I know exactly what you mean. I was on a flight last summer where there were three wedding dresses laid out in the overhead bin, with vigilant brides-to-be ensuring nobody’s bag came near the dresses.

  8. Hilarious! And your use of these black-and-white photos is brilliant. Have to confess that we too are guilty of #8 – flying on the plane is so uncomfortable that you might as well try to be as comfy as possible before actually boarding :-).

  9. Oh this is fantastic. I pretty much so every example of these annoying people everyday when I worked at the Edmonton International Airport. True story once when I worked at the airport I had a guy run and come to me and ask if we had vodka (we didn’t, just sold newspapers and such). He starts looking around and there’s announcement going on for “passenger such and such to proceed to gate 56 for the immediate boarding of their flight.” 5 minutes later the guy goes, “oh I guess that’s me.” Facepalm.

  10. The #8 sort are the absolute worst! Often seen sprawled out, sleeping on airport loungers, these specimens have been in transit for so long that they’ve forgotten about personal hygiene (or plainly decided to ‘sod it’). Avoid at all costs!

    Not going to lie, I’m a bit of a #10. Actually, I’m a thorough-bred #10 (like with everything good or bad, blame the genes).

    Honestly though– how hard is it to prep for airport security, people?! I’m talking to you, man-who-insists-on-waiting-until-the-security-line-to-remove-keys/a-belt/coins!

  11. haha! awesome post! If I could add one more: Overzealous Security personnel who will insist on opening your hand carry to sift through everything (and not find anything). This seems to happen a bit too often to me.

  12. Written in such a nice way and u know m impressed with this beautiful comment box.

    Yeah we can find bunch of annoying people everywhere not only at airport.

  13. I love the herd mentality of every passenger getting up all at once as soon as the announcement is made for boarding. I’ve made it a habit now to grab a seat closer towards the gate and either prepare to be the first one in line when my section is called or I just wait until half of the line has boarded before I approach the gate. I value my sitting time. 🙂

    1. I value my sitting time too! I also value being able to put my bag in the overhead somewhere near my seat — that’s why I usually scramble to get on among the first too. 🙂


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