What Your Airport Routine Says About Your Personality

What does your airport routine say about your personality?

Whether you show up super early ‘just in case’ or cut it close says something about how they ‘manage anxiety’. But I’m not sure it says what the experts think it 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.

Does arriving close to departure and not wasting moments of your life standing around at the airport signal avoidance, or just that you’ve got a routine down?

  • Sure, airport parking might be a mess but some airports let you pre-reserve spots. And traffic could glitch, or public transit could break down, so maybe you have a bit of a buffer.

  • And how much of a buffer may just depend on how big a cost it is to miss your flight, based on a combination of how important the trip actually is and whether your status gives you confidence you’ll make it onto a later flight?

Instead of claiming that your past experience may manifest itself in your airport routine (“That one time you missed a flight might have flipped you from late arriver to early bird”) perhaps it’s your overall experience – that you know what you’re doing – which leads you to be rational about the decision?

A regular weekly traveler spending an extra half our at the airport in each direction will spend 52 extra hours at the airport each year or more than 2 days each year unnecessarily waiting.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arrives at the airport hours early (and, for that matter, flies coach). I think that’s the wrong approach, on both counts.

My default is to leave home 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to departure. That puts me at the curb of the Austin airport 50 minutes out. In Austin PreCheck and CLEAR are right inside the main doors of the airport. Even if security takes me 10 minutes to clear, I’ve still got a few minutes to reach the gate before boarding even begins. And the truth is I don’t need to board first! I just need to not board last, so I’m not stuck gate checking a bag. I follow a similar routine leaving my Arlington, Virginia office for National airport.

And at the end of the day if you’ve never missed a flight you’re spending too much time in airports. I’ll only add a larger buffer when it truly matters that I don’t miss that given flight.

(HT: Paul H)

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