The 10 people you see in an airport

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There are certain types of people you always see in airports. How many of these characters can you recognise?

The ‘first holiday’ couple – It is practically impossible to walk through an airport without bumping into the ‘first holiday’ couple or FHC. You can usually find them inappropriately having the shift against a wall in the most awkward of places, ensuring that they are getting in everyone’s way, but they don’t care because, y’know, they’re “so in love”. FHCs are quite frustrating because they’re in a complete world of their own so they’re not running on regular airport time. You might be late for your flight, but if a FHC is in front of you, you may as well give up on making it because they will stroll painfully slowly in front of you, stopping at three minute intervals to have another kiss.

The stressed-out family – This type of airport dweller usually consists of two sleep-deprived adults and at least three hyperactive children. The children are likely to be running riot on those child-friendly suitcases that double as a mini-scooter and screaming at the top of their lungs. The poor mother will most likely be telling whichever child she can grab a hold of to “hush now” while the frazzled father frantically searches for boarding passes right at the airport gate. There is usually a lot of empty threats involving sweets or toys being confiscated right before take-off.

The business person – Also known as the ‘terminal ghost’, the business person is absolute airport-navigation-goals. They’re so used to travelling via plane that they are scarily quick and efficient. They have all their travel documents in a special, easy-to-reach wallet so they don’t cause any delays, they walk quickly and they usually work quietly for most of the flight, making them a super quiet seatmate. The best airport experience of your life will be one where you’re behind a business person in a queue. They’re so good at all of this, you’ll breeze through security in their wake and their quiet confidence will instil a great sense of comfort within you. Amazing.

The globetrotter – Not to be confused with the backpacker, the globetrotter is likely to be wearing a massive backpack (with the shop tags still intact), braided hair and a very expensive camera. They’ll talk loudly about going surfing in Bali or visiting South America and staying in the jungle, however if you follow them to their gate, you’ll realise that they’re not as adventurous as a seasoned backpacker and are mostly all talk. South America, really? We see you boarding that plane for London…

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The backpacker – The backpacker will be the happiest person in the airport, without a doubt. Lines do not phase them. Delays do not phase them. These things are all part of the adventure, friend. Their only luggage will be a battered old backpack that has seen better days and possibly a carry-on instrument of some kind (usually a guitar or a pair of bongos). They won’t brag about where they’ve been or where they’re going. They’ll likely just help you with your bags or give you pointers on cool places to check out when you land at your destination.

The ‘gone for the weekend’ gang – This gang can usually be found taking over an entire corner of the nearest airport bar. Yes, it may be 9am on a Friday morning but they need to make this weekend last, so shut up and pass that fourth bottle of wine. They will be loud, rowdy and ready to party. They will also be the first to clap and cheer when the plane lands. If you’re up for the craic, you’ll have a good laugh with them.

The security enforcer – Yes there are security professionals in the airport to help you with all your queries, but this person will not only give you a “friendly” reminder of what you need to do to meet airport security standards, they’ll also make passive aggressive remarks about that mini bottle of shampoo that you’re holding. Are you really sure that’s under the 100ml rule? Hmmm?

The leap frog – Every traveller’s worst nightmare, the leap frog is so effective because they tend to be incredibly subtle. They’re the people who pretend to not know where they’re going and then just happen to ‘slip’ into the queue in front of you. They look lost, so you don’t say anything but you can bet your priority seating that they know exactly what they’re doing. You’re most likely to catch a leap frog trying to jump in front of a FHC or a stressed-out family.

The sprinter – Also known as the ‘terminally late’ person, you’ll find these doing that urgent run through the airport. They don’t own a watch and are physically incapable of getting to their seat on time. The sprinter delays everyone and the worst part? They will smugly smile as they get onto the plane, ignoring the fact that you’ve all been sitting on the tarmac for 20 minutes waiting for them. The cheek.

Catherine Devane