There are so many lessons to learn about human behavior at an airport. Today I’ve invested some “bonus hours” in a cozy terminal in Des Moines, Iowa. Three hours after my flight was supposed to take off, I’ve created an interesting and evidence-based list of human behaviors:
1. People drink more in airports than they normally do. They may want time to pass quickly. They may need to do something with the hand that is not holding their cell phone. Maybe they have been searching for a really expensive draft beer or “an extra shot for only two dollars more.”
2. People do not exercise in airports. The same people who lift weights and walk on treadmills at their hotels will stand still on escalators and automated walkways at the airport. I don’t get it. Carry-on luggage is an ideal weight and the handles are more convenient to grasp than barbells.
3. People like to talk on their phones while they’re waiting. It doesn’t matter who they are talking to. Often, their harangues make it seem like they just want to be heard by someone…everyone.
4. Employees who clean the bathrooms at airports are some of the bravest people in the world. Who else is willing to mop up after our less-than-stellar performances? They are truly the jump-suited heroes of air travel.
5. Electrical outlets are a cherished commodity in terminals. Important people with deadlines to meet congregate around them and protect their space from invaders.
6. Kids, from age two to five, can run away from their moms faster at airports than any other place in the universe. Moms who have only one child are concerned about such escapes, whereas more experienced mothers take a more relaxed, “it takes a village” approach.
7. Most people who ride on motorized carts to get from point A to point B feel a sense of privilege. They enjoy it when the driver beeps at pedestrians. Also, the drivers are aggressive people, most likely moonlighting taxi drivers.
8. Overall, people are well-behaved at airports. They do what they are told. They line up in an orderly fashion with minimal pushing or shoving. Approximately, only one out of 17 passengers appears to be agitated, annoyed or confused. (Please refer back to #1.)
If you have never had the opportunity to sit at an airport for a long period of time, I encourage you to do so. It helps you hone your skills of patience and obedience as you repeat the Serenity Prayer over and over. To dramatically increase your opportunity to have such an experience, call me and I’ll give you the name of my favorite airlines.