Which Type of Airport Person are You?

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

Have you heard of Murphy's Law? Chances are, you have heard of it before. The law is an adage or epigram that is stated as: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”The likelihood of this law happening or its predictability is a whole different argument. However, it’s fair to say that it can be easily predicted base on people's behavioral patterns.

Patterns, as scientist Marcus Du Sautoy argued, are the key to predicting our behaviors even the darkest parts of us. There are always tell tell patterns as humans because we very rarely do things random. It is the patterns and connections that make up our world. Life sometimes can seem unpredictable and often seem random. However, nothing is random argued Du Sautoy. Life is simply a cause and effect; because the tiniest shift can shift our cause. Chance isn’t random either, it only appears that way. The truth is far more extraordinary and it all involves mathematics.

Our lives are controlled by a strange code of chaos. Our lives aren’t random, they are chaotic a tangle web of cause and effect. In which insignificant moments can change our lives forever. An incredible sensitivity to the slightest change which Sautoy argued is the defining features of chaos. Chaos is define as “the behavior of a system which is governed by cause and effect but is so unpredictable as to appear random.” We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle famously proclaimed. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Some things can seem chaotic, but they occur as a result of patterns repeated daily whether conscious or subconscious and intentionally or not.

So, to get back to our topic, as perfectly described by Amanda Mull, “There Are Two Types of Airport People.” According to Jeffrey Conte, an organizational psychologist at San Diego State University, type-A people are those who tend to be impatient and ambitious—they are often punctual. Type Bs are those who tend to be more relaxed and less neurotic, generally arrive later. Different factors are at work in both types that Mr. Conte call “mitigating factors,” For instance, the views of punctuality in the culture in which someone grows up, and whether or not the individual has kids. “The relationships between personality characteristics and lateness are not what we would call strong (because there are other factors), but they are consistent,” states Conte.

Moreover, it is also important to note how well people handle stress under stressful conditions. Everyone cope with stress differently, therefore, it’s important to ask yourself if in case you are late, can you handle yourself well enough to make sure you made it to the gate. In the same article, another physiologist, Gerkin states that “It’s not that late people don’t find the airport as stressful as early people do, in other words, but that their coping mechanisms indicate a fundamentally different approach to the negative parts of life.”

Type B people aren’t hard to spot in any airport. As musingly described by Amanda Mull, “They’re weaving between on-time travelers at a speed somewhere between a power walk and a sprint, or they’re elbow-dancing their way to the front of the TSA line to plead their case for immediate screening. They look panicked, maybe red-faced. Their suitcase’s wheels probably won’t cooperate for portions of their journey, sending it flailing behind them as they move as quickly as their new vacation sandals allow.”

Musing Courtesy of Hinge

If you are a compulsively early person who’s always early to everything it can be quite interesting to observe type B people. As Mull states, “Why would anyone look at an experience as expensive and anxiety-inducing as flying and want to make it a little bit riskier?” This is not without acknowledging the fact that sometimes, Murphy’s law may be at work or you may encounter multiple issues on your way to the airport that you do not have much control over or sometimes things just happen and it’s not your day. In fact, some chronically late people do, of course, intend to be on time. However, there are patterns to hint to us clues that we can easily adjust or change or improve on.

Perhaps, a better preparation - days and even weeks ahead of time is necessary. Unless you are a frequent flier who intends to not be at the airport hours or minutes ahead of time; and see lateness as the goal of “relishing the thrill of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat” or to avoid long lines, by all means go early. “I just really live for the feeling of literally running through the airport barefoot because you didn’t have time to put your shoes on after security, and your laptop is in your hand because you didn’t have time to put it back,” states Ellen Cushing, a senior editor at The Atlantic.

Our recommendation is simple, unless you have leverage or you are a frequent flyer who can easily navigate through the airport arrive at the airport ahead of time. Here are our six tips for a hassle free whether you a type A or B person:

1- Preparation: If you had a choice to be under-prepared or over-prepared, which one would you rather choose? The answer is simple. Preparation may not be everything but it can solve and be the solution to many hassles and stress free travel. A lot of travel anxieties can be easily avoided with preparation. Things such as packing days or weeks ahead of time and avoid overpack; more on this topic on our blog. Sorting out luggage and reviewing baggage policies. We all know baggage can be costly, and it’s cost can be easily avoided with preparation. Not to mention, rebooking fees. The essence of travel is to immerse yourself into experiences - it isn’t to break your bank. Especially on costs you can easily control and avoid. Lack of preparation can be costly. So be over-prepared rather than under-prepared.

2- Early Airline Check-In: Major airlines allow customers to complete the check-in process online or through mobile phones, typically beginning 24 hours before departure. Customers enter flight information and identification information to check in early for their flights and sometimes baggage depending on the airline. Consider these three benefits for early check-ins below.

Skipped Lines:

Standard airport procedures requires you to stand in line at the airline's ticket counter to get your boarding passes. However, in case of lateness or during busy travel times, the lines are often quite long, you do not want to waste more time standing in line. The early check-in process allows you to get your mobile boarding pass or print your boarding pass so you don’t have to stand in long lines at the airport.

Faster Access to Security:

Early check-in gets you to the security checkpoint faster. If you aren't checking any bags, you can go directly to security when you arrive at the airport. Even if you have to drop off checked bags curbside or at a kiosk, you're still able to proceed to the security checkpoint faster than if you hadn't used early check-in. Keep in mind that the lengths of security lines fluctuate, so you still need to give yourself plenty of time to get through.

Better Seat Selection:

When checking in ahead of time, you are able to choose your seat assignment. Those who go through the check-in process as early as possible have the best selection of seats that are available. If you wait for check-in at the airport, you're stuck with the remaining seats, which are often the least-desirable locations on the plane. There is still a chance your seat assignment could change after you arrive at the airport if the airline needs to move another passenger for some reason.

3- Unconscious and Conscious Biases: Most people have encountered unfair treatments when traveling because of their ethnicity, nationality, religious background and other forms of bigotry, who gets stopped for additional security checks. So if you know you belong to a minority group then by all means arrive to the airport on time.

4- Take Advantage of TSA PreCheck: The TSA PreCheck program allows passengers to avoid some of the security steps in the process of boarding an airplane for flights departing from the United States. Passengers can avoid removing particular items required to complete the TSA scanning process, and are additionally allowed into a special scanning lane. By skipping long lines and avoiding cumbersome tasks, approved passengers can get through airport security much faster. Interested passengers can enroll in the known traveler program by submitting an application online for pre-approval to the Department of Homeland Security, consenting to a background search and supplying fingerprints for TSA records. To get TSA PreCheck, you’ll also need an “unexpired U.S. government-issued photo identification and proof of citizenship (i.e., passport only, or a driver’s license and birth certificate).” It costs $85 to enroll in TSA PreCheck for five years. Therefore, TSA PreCheck will not work when you’re going through the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) screening. Global Entry, which is operated by CBP, provides expedited reentry to the U.S. through customs in addition to TSA PreCheck privileges, however, Global Entry enrollment and approval process is different and more costly than TSA PreCheck.

5- Travel with a Carryon: If you are the type of person who’s cost conscious, and hyper-efficient when traveling, then you fall under people who never checks in their luggage. More on this on our blog.

6- Consult Google Maps and traffic information: Google Maps is really good at providing you with directions on which transportation method is available in any place as well as details about traffic and the to determine the latest possible time to leave. In addition to conventional road maps, Google Maps offers aerial and satellite views of many places. In some cities, Google Maps offers street views comprising photographs taken from vehicles.

There you have it. We hope you had a wonderful time and enjoyed these insights and that you will make every effort to be the type A person even if you are not so hyper-efficient to avoid Murphy’s Law catching up to you. Don’t take any chances - it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

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