Nov 2, 2022 - Economy

Axios Finish Line: What your airport routine says about you

Illustration of an airport check-in sign with a happy face

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

This article originally appeared in Axios Finish Line, our nightly newsletter on life, leadership and wellness. Sign up here.

There are two kinds of people: those who get to the airport with hours to spare, browse retailer Hudson News and grab a snack, and those who dash through security, yanking their belts on, and bound for the gate with two minutes to spare.

  • Why it matters: How people approach the airport gives us clues about their personality and past.

"Traveling is anxiety-inducing, especially nowadays," says Jonny Gerkin, a psychiatrist at the University of North Carolina.

People will try to manage that anxiety in different ways, he says.

  • Many early arrivers will try to take control of the situation and leave (way) more than enough time for all possible contingencies.
  • And many late arrivers will deal with the headaches of travel by avoiding thinking about it altogether, and then scrambling at the last minute.

Or maybe specific events in your life have molded your airport behavior, Gerkin notes.

  • Your parents' habits might have influenced yours.
  • That one time you missed a flight might have flipped you from late arriver to early bird.
  • Or maybe you're an early arriver who married a late one, and now the two of you have compromised to figure out an airport ritual that works.

What's happening: When travel came roaring back after the pandemic, it seemed like the early arrivers had the right idea.

  • Airports had historic delays, lots of cancellations, security lines out the door — and missing flights became more and more common.

Yes, but: Too early isn't great either. A number of airport lounges, including Delta Sky Club and American Express' Centurion Lounges, have started limiting how long people can hang out before takeoff, the Wall Street Journal reports. It's three hours tops, unless you've got a long layover or delay.

  • As travel picked up again and work stayed hybrid or remote, more and more people were arriving at the lounges several hours early to take advantage of the free grub and plentiful outlets.
  • "We're not a WeWork," Claude Roussel, managing director of Delta Sky Club told the Journal.
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