According to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), over 3 billion people fly every year. That means, on an annual basis, almost half of the earth’s human population takes to the air to get from one point to another. Airports with all their glory, mystery, and sometimes misery, are the main hubs of this activity which makes them interesting places to say the least. With millions of people navigating airports around the world everyday, there is bound to be some great opportunities for people watching which is why this blog has come to exist.
I spend a good amount of time in airports. Even with all their craziness: the parking, odd setups, terrible food options, molecularly thin toilet paper…I can’t seem to help it but I absolutely LOVE AIRPORTS. It’s been this way the first time I stepped foot in the Nashville International Airport at the ripe, old age of 16 on a school sponsored trip to New York. The sights, sounds, and general perception of organized chaos, I was hooked from that point on. That obsession has led me to seek out jobs that give me the opportunity to fly whenever possible.
The thing I love the most about airports are the people. Where else on the planet can you find such a diverse population made up of virtually every racial, social, occupational, and socio-economical group, all together and on the same mission which is to navigate these manmade labyrinths only to be put on a large, aluminum, winged-tube and be shot 30,000 feet into the air. It’s an amazing Sociological phenomenon that’s been present since the first airports were built during the 1920s. This makes those who make up the airport populations worthy of investigating to the fullest extent possible.
Of course, the thing I love more than airports is people watching. In my opinion, people are the most interesting creatures on the planet and never fail to provide me with hours of entertainment just by sitting around and observing those around me. Being at an airport regularly gives me plenty of opportunities to practice my favorite past-time. I watch them at the ticket counters, going through security, while waiting on my departure and even while collecting my bags at the end of a journey. There everywhere I and soak it in like a sponge.
This blog will be dedicated to my own personal anthropological study that I conduct during my airport observations. Creating categories is a cognitive process that we as humans have evolved into our brain functioning in order to simplify our thinking and allow us to process more and more information. I have done this myself with the people I see at airports. After enough time, patterns start to emerge amongst certain people which allows us to categorize them with those who act the same way. What I plan to present here is a snapshot of those categories and highlight the behaviors that make up their group dynamics. Each group will be presented with their corresponding three letter code to stick with the normal airport protocol we’ve grown to know and love. I hope you find some humor and entertainment in these posts. Feel free to leave comments plus your own observations as well.
I mean, if we’re going to be at the airport anyway, we might as well have some fun! Enjoy!