Place: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
I enjoyed 20 minutes of spare time in the main entrance hall of this airport. I decided to watch the departing and arriving travelers that passed my spot. You have some crazy, funny, serious, boring and exciting people at an international airport like this. Acting like a real travel flâneur I was trying to learn about airport diversity. Do you recognize these traveler types?
- Unstressed Early Birds…..Relaxed, having ample time to check-in, shop, eat, drink, look around and board (probably because they arrived at least 3 hours before departure).
- One small step for man, one giant leap for the Unexperienced Travelers – their eyes restlessly moving from left to right. “Why can’t I find my way around here? Why is it so busy? OMG, wished I had never booked this trip….I want to go home! “
- These people do make you smile, so let’s call them like that: Smileys! Happy people who just welcomed their loved ones. Hands or arms entangled. Haven’t seen each other for weeks, months or even years. They smile. Life is wonderful…
- Closely linked to the Smileys are the Parking Lot Radicals. These are generally non-smiling people who have also just welcomed family or friends but more because they had to, not because they like it that much. Even if there has been any kind of magical moment after that first reunion, it’s gone quickly because of these Parking Lot Radicals. They are efficient, wanting to get home. No more time for coffee, they quickly guide the group towards the parking lot. They do show some kind of stress that further disturbs the moment: “Where is my parking ticket? How expensive will that one hour of parking be? Hope we can still avoid the traffic jams? For sure next time it’s my brother’s turn to pick someone up at the airport!”
- Hurrying narcissist: My favorite! You can smell their discontent from a mile away! They consider the airport their territory (if you would offer them a tree to pee against and mark it, they would do so! “Out of my way, I know exactly how this all works, I’m a frequent flyer. Sigh….Come on, hurry up. Do you never fly or something? Yes, you also have to take off your belt at security and come on, prepare and already take the laptop out of your bag to get this waiting line moving! Gosh…”
- Masters of Business: They could be Hurrying Narcissists, but the difference lies in them comparing business and tourist travel. They don’t focus on themselves that much. “I wish all tourists could be banned from weekdays…business travel is more important. Let’s get to the Business Lounge quickly to avoid all this tourist crap.”
- The Anxious Ones (or: Scary of the Unknown) : “OMG, Amsterdam….this is SO scary…..is that man staring at me in an odd way? He does look strange. Please don’t scam me….and I hope nobody steals my bags…”
- Regretful Enthusiasts: “Why did I bring so much luggage. I wish I had listened to my…..”
- Follow-the-Leader-Group Travelers: These groups that gather for the last time around the luggage belt: “Thank you for all your funny jokes! Thank you for making this holiday unforgettable. Thank you…thank you….OK, see you at the reunion!” (if there ever will be one…)
- Laid Back Teens: “Oh man, we are going to have SO MUCH fun in Amsterdam! Don’t share too many pictures on Facebook as my parents are watching!”
- Wannabe Smugglers: “No I have nothing to declare…do I? Do I have to declare my new camera? What about that stone souvenir? Am I sweating? Hope they don’t ask ME to open my bag.”
- Savvy Ones: A group for whom an airport is the twilight zone between daily routines and the great escape. Airports unmask them, where they (consciously) lose grip on daily life and a dream starts. The Savvy Ones also cannot understand why that many people at airports are not smiling but instead show us their gloomy face. Come on Angry Birds, business or pleasure, you are going places!
OK, 12 types of travelers discovered in 20 minutes. Airport diversity is serious business. Which type do you miss?
And yes, if you still long for more, please check out this post: 7 types of travellers you see in the airport.