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What kind of airport traveller are you? Early bird, always late or a lounge lingerer?

Are you a chronic latecomer, an early arriver or actually a mix of the two?

What type of airport traveller are you? 
What type of airport traveller are you? 

What kind of airport traveller are you?

Are you the type of holiday-maker that turns up hours ahead of your flight departure time? Or are you more likely to be found sprinting through the airport towards your gate à la Home Alone?

For Amanda Mull, a writer at The Atlantic, these are the two distinct types of airport travellers.

The writer penned a story about the types of airport travellers after discovering that some people hot-tailing it through airports are not people who intended on being on time and simply got delayed, but are people who enjoy the thrill of almost missing a flight.

Mull discovered this when her colleague Ellen Cushing, a senior editor at The Atlantic, told her: "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."

Judging by the Twitter storm that ensued, compulsively-early Mull isn’t the only person that’s shocked by the revelations of airport latecomers. And it seems that Cushing isn’t the only purposefully tardy traveller in the world.

Twitter responds

Taking to twitter after reading Mull's story, Zoe Barnard wrote about the satisfaction she gleams from almost being late for a flight. “There is nothing more gratifying on earth than being the last person to board the plane,” she tweets.

Adam Singer was shocked by the idea that people arrive late to airports for the thrill of it. He wrote on Twitter that there’s only one rule: airplanes don’t wait for you.

A divide that sits across cultures

The subject definitely seems to divide people the world over, even taking precedence over cultural norms in some cases. Traveller and Twitter user Andrea Gonzalez Ramirez tweeted: “As a Puerto Rican I'm late to pretty much everything, but the airport is my one and only exception.”

According to Jeffrey Conte, an organisational psychologist at San Diego State University and one of Mull's interviewees, the difference of opinion is explained by two different types of people. “Type-A people — those who tend to be impatient and ambitious — are often punctual. Type Bs, who tend to be more relaxed and less neurotic, generally arrive later,” said Conte.

And yet, it would seem that airport arrival behaviour isn't as intrinsic as some of our other behavioural norms. Torey van Oot revealed on Twitter than she was a former late arriver, but had changed her ways after marrying an airport early-bird.

But there is also the departure lounge dweller

Personally, it's hard to place myself in either camp.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve missed a flight and, as a frequent traveller, I don’t think that’s a particularly high ratio of missed flights to journeys taken. Yet for many travellers in the early arrival camp, even the idea of missing a flight, especially through any fault of their own, is as unthinkable as getting a free upgrade to first-class.

On the other hand, I don’t relish the idea of running through an airport at top speed only to be turned away at the gate. In a similar manner, the thought of being stuck in traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road knowing my opportunity to jet off on a tropical weekend is dissipating is rather distressing.

Instead, I’m the type of traveller who gets to the airport with plenty of time to get through security, indulge in some duty-free shopping and partake in pre-flight refreshments. But I'm also the type of traveller that finds myself leaving half my beverage behind as I dash down the travelator towards my gate in those final few minutes before they close it.

So contrary to The Atlantic's story, I propose that there are actually three types of airport people — chronic latecomers, early arrivers and departure dwellers. Which camp do you fall into?

Updated: June 2, 2019 05:02 PM

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