Most annoying people at airports: The 13 most frustrating things people do at the airport

There's something about mass travel - not the destination, but the cramped voyage from A to B - that inevitably brings out the worst in us. All of us. Some are merely better at soldiering on and keeping our goblins in the box than others.

Here, we take a look at airports, and the worst offending characters. Let's commence, in chronological order.

1. The check-in diva

No-one likes standing in a queue at the airport, and this queue, of all the queues to follow, is arguably the most annoying queue. You're dragging your luggage, possibly juggling your children, potentially late, shuffling along - one component of a giant, tired caterpillar of fellow humans - and you come to notice that the shuffling has stopped. Who is to blame? Probably the check-in diva: the one who wants the window seat, but can't get a window seat, or didn't know there was an extra charge for checked bags, so won't pay it, or who wants the vegetarian meal but didn't notify the airline within 24 hours. In short, the stubborn goat who wastes everyone else's time trying to win an unwinnable game, before finally sloping off in a sulk, defeated, as the glaring caterpillar gets back to its shuffling.

2. The herd of queue jumpers

This is a classic tactic typical of teenagers queuing up outside night clubs. One person near the front spots other members of their herd joining the back, waves at them with great animation, and ushers the entire group into pole position. There is no place for this sort of behaviour at an airport. Not even if you're part of a stag/hen party. Especially not if you're part of a stag/hen party.

3. The security scrabbler

You have now reached the security screening process and joined another queue. Even if this is your first time (very unlikely), there are signs everywhere, with helpful illustrations, informing you of the drill: remove your jacket, coins out of pockets, liquids in a plastic bag, laptop out, bulky shoes off. There are also dead-behind-the-eyes security officers bleating out the same instructions over and over, so that by the time it's your turn to take the tray, you're ready. Or you really should be. If you wait until the very last moment to dig around in your pockets and separate your belongings, you are a security scrabbler and you're holding everyone up. Congratulations, you made the list.

4. The tray faffer

Once your tray, or invariably your triplet of trays, emerges through the other side, and there's a juggernaut of other trays lodged behind, it's best to remove yours and take it to the area behind you which is specifically assigned for tray faffing. Remaining at the belt and blocking everyone else as you methodically reassemble your items and re-lace your shoes is yet another thing you can do to slow the system down. If this is you, you probably don't even return your tray to its depot, do you?

5. Perfume assassins

You can't really blame them, it being their job, but sprightly duty-free reps who lunge at you from behind counters with bottles of gaggish fruity perfume, poised to fire as you're navigating the maze of gigantic Toblerone pyramids in an attempt to emerge unscathed (and not smelling of a pungent peach), can all be a bit much.

6. Abrupt stoppers

This vexatious habit is found everywhere, all around the world, in every walking situation and certainly in airports. People waddling along in front of you who stop suddenly to gawp at something - their phone, a shop window, a screen, whatever. The more rushed or late you happen to be, the more vexing this is. Extra points if the abrupt stopper happens to be wheeling a suitcase behind them, which crushes your toes upon their jarring halt.

7. Charging station hoggers

There's no rule governing how many power sockets at charging stations you can dominate at any one time, but there a simple mathematical fact: there are far more phones, laptops and e-readers in dire need of juice at an airport than there are sockets to revive them. It's not very polite, therefore, to plonk yourself down, spread out your array of electronic items and conquer several of them at once - not if there are other people hovering around waiting for their turn. It's fine if the airport isn't busy and no-one's hovering, but this is generally rare.

Advertisement

8. Seat spillers

Similarly, when seats are sparse in waiting areas and exhausted passengers are left standing in plentiful supply, it's staggering to think that some people nonchalantly assign their neighbouring seat to their bags. Bags don't need chairs, people do.

9. Travelator blockers

Travelators - otherwise known as moving walkways - have a primary purpose, which is to get you to your gate in bursts of twice the speed. A succession of travelators remain your only hope when you're screaming late to catch a flight. They're also useful for people who have mobility issues and non-late people who would simply rather stand for a bit than walk. Much like escalators, though, there are two unmarked but widely-acknowledged lanes: the fast one (right) and the stationary one (left). It only takes one left-lane traveller - or worse, an entire group of them - to step into the fast lane and just stand there. This forms a human barrier that ruins the entire system, leaving a trail of rage-ridden left-laners blocked behind them. Of course the left vs right fast lane depends which country you're travelling through.

10. Backpack bashers

These are the backpack-fitted wanderers who fail to consider that the mass they have attached to their backs renders them double the girth. You don't want to be anywhere near one of these, particularly not in a queue, for fear of being bashed in the face everytime they swivel from one direction to the next.

11. Boarding anarchists

The reason most airlines board economy passengers by zone or row numbers, usually from the back to the front, is to get everyone seated as efficiently as possible, and to limit the caterpillar queue at the gate. Usually, this doesn't work terribly well. You'll always get the maniacs who spring to their feet as soon as the first announcement is made, regardless of seat number, in a mad dash to get onto the plane fastest. Their motive can only be to secure themselves the best overhead storage spot, but sometimes they don't even have anything to store, it's just their personality type: to always be first. Although why you'd want to spend any more time strapped into an aircraft seat than is necessary beats us.

12. Departure delayers

These are the passengers who keep the whole plane waiting because they are late to the gate, and to be fair, it's happened to the best of us. There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons, of course, to be late to the airport - standstill traffic jams en-route being the most common. But if you've already checked in and cleared security with time to spare, your only excuse to be late boarding is that you got carried away shopping at duty free or throwing back drinks in a pub and lost track of time. Unlike most other airport etiquette crimes, at least this once comes with a penance: the humiliation of all the tutting and death stares as you wade frantically down the aisle to find your seat, the aircraft door bolted behind you and your fate sealed as being officially the most unpopular person on the flight.

13. Carousel bullies

You've made it through the flight and to your destination airport. There's not much scope for inherently-annoying people as you all pass through immigration because they tend to be on their best behaviour at this point. Queue jumping is far less likely, as is general rowdiness and diva flipouts. As a result - surprise, surprise - these queues tend to move fastest. But that all changes on the other side when you reach baggage reclaim, and the carousel bullies come into play. These are the people who don't stand aside (or God forbid help) when you're clearly struggling to haul your suitcase off the moving belt, creating a domino effect of chaos. It's the final insult in a voyage that has been littered with insults of varying severity.

Despite all this cathartic ranting of course, it's all more than worth it. Serious hat on, we're lucky to live in an age where flying is possible, let alone affordable. Even Ryanair deserves more appreciation.

The Telegraph, London

See also: Why airports are the most annoying thing about travel 

See also: Top 20 most annoying things about flying

Comments