At my age, as a college student, I see a fair share of airports: with constant flying back home, back to school, and also to various destinations for vacations like winter and spring break, I consider one of the greatest things to happen to me is seeing the TSA pre-check mark on my boarding pass.
However, with this extended time in airports, with hours and hours of connections and flight time, I have been able to observe a curious amount of airports that seem to be unique only to them.
Many people love airports: to them, it seems like a haven of possibility, of travel and new experiences. Much of the time, the trip itself doesn't seem real until you step foot in the airport, symbolizing the beginning of a new experience.
However, it is without a doubt that many Americans spend about the same amount of time researching flights rather than the trip itself.
Deciding on a destination, a time to go, and availability of flights is vital to the trip itself, so for major trips, many spend a bulk of their trip planning on flights. However, on the other end of the spectrum, many people fly last minute flights for whatever circumstance arises that requires them to get somewhere fast, even booking tickets at the counter.
This dichotomy of preparedness and state of mind that exists at the airport creates an environment of differences, which makes the airport a prime people watching spot.
The differences between people are evident in many different ways, however the art of people watching lies in the subtleties and the details. With so many people in a concentrated space, it is easy to get lost in the blur of faces when people watching, the way they dress is a solid indication of many factors that can tell you about the person they are and where they’re going. In airports, the variety of outfits ranging from suits, Hawaiian shirts, and college sweatshirts, the combination of different outfits could only be acceptable in a place such as an airport.
Additionally, the size of people’s luggage is a tell-tale sign of their trip: it tells you what kind of weather in the destination that they’re traveling to, the formality of their activities (as evidenced by suit bags and such), and the length of their stay.
Throughout hours and hours spent in airport gates and plane cabins, people watching has been not just a pastime but a method of entertainment. However, it has curiously taught me a lot about people and the differences we all have.
Nevertheless, the differences between people, we are all brought together by different things. That, in itself, proves the magic of airports and the influence they have not just on our mobility but our human experience.