Seven types of traveller

‘Green’, he shouted. Again ‘Green, Green, Green’  the child shouted. From behind books and newspapers other passengers tutted and shook their heads as young Jake/Thad/Noah demanded another macaroon; a green one. His Dad tried to placate him with a discussion about sharing, but to no avail. You see Jake/Thad/Noah is about three.

‘Bang, Bang, Bang’, young Jake/Thad/Noah hit his fist on the seat back of the chair he was sharing with his Dad located just behind me, as he pounded out his desire for more food in some form of childlike morse code.

‘Ouch’ – his fist connected with my head, I exclaimed. No apology was forthcoming from either parent despite clearly seeing what had happened. So here we have the first type – the uncontrollable child and the absent parent.

As I looked around the small lounge at London City Airport, waiting for my flight to New York I was struck by the fact that no one, including me, had tackled Jake/Thad/Noah, or his parents about his behaviour and whilst we all clearly disapproved, we let him get on with it. Time was, had that been me, a severe slap of the legs would have produced better behaviour, but those days are gone. I am not unhappy in truth as beating children generally does not reduce the decibel level.

BA A-318 London City to JFK

The other passengers were a mixed group. Sometimes it is possible to see certain types, which over many flights, repeat themselves. Most typically it is easy to see these groups on small flights, such as the 32 seater Airbus A318 that operates the flights from London City to JFK, via Shannon.

The Business Man – busy on his phone until the very last minute. Grabbing the Financial Times before boarding and then watching an action movie whilst on board.

The Boys – Gay or Straight it is neither clear nor important. Yacking to friends on their mobiles all the time, and then enjoying the onboard service. Travelling with matching luggage. Oddly seeing them the next days in Macy’s where we were all shopping in the sale. Working in fashion, advertising or something creative I guess. Living in London but with Canadian Passports.

The Rich Older Couple, who, after seeing that Jake/Thad/Noah was in the row behind them, seriously considered getting off the plan as they dreaded the next 8 hours of his antics.

The DYKWIA (do you know who I am), who is busy on the internet and whilst everyone else has boarded the bus to the plane still has time to swill down his champagne and eat his crisps whilst all the other passengers bake on the tarmac without an evident care about his fellow passengers.

The Frequent Flyer – ‘Well by the end of the year I will have flown 350,000 miles, all in Business Class’ was what I heard mid-flight when going to the loo. Drinking for the full length of the flight the FF was still drinking white wine as we came in to land at JFK. I was impressed that he had flown that much – although whether the crew cared I could not tell. They didn’t get a lot of words in during the monologue conducted in the forward galley. I was more impressed that he thought tacking US Immigration whilst drunk was a good idea.

The Fussy Flyer – ‘I must know what is being served on the flight today, I just must’ she told the ground crew. Off they went to check with the flight crew who had mercifully boarded by then and so could read the menu over the radio. It seemed that she had an objection to the sauces in which BA typically serves its business class offerings. Apparently she decided which of the options she wanted had the ground crew radio it ahead to the cabin. Oh to be so important.

There other types I am sure, but these were my flight mates for the next 8 hours last Friday. Travelling on my own, people watching is one of the pleasures of flying.

Do you recognise these types, or have any to add?

Buffet at London City Airport BA Lounge


  1. Sounds like your young Damien has a future as an annoying DYKWIA up in first class.

  2. Haha. Must be one of “The Boys.” Gay or straight doesn’t matter, and I’m living in London with a Canadian passport. Don’t work in fashion, but a tech start up which is close enough to hipster London, right.

    Bang on article mate!

  3. Great article, it made me laugh and I was able to delve into my bank of flight memories and recognise every single one of those travellers. I do think though,that you have omitted one other type, and there are always several on most flights. ‘The Overhead Bin Troll’. They approach, they grab your carefully placed bag with their grubby mitts, carelessly shove it, pull it, crush it, remove it and put it on the floor even….as if no one might notice….to make room for their own more important belongings. Even when you look directly at them, scowling, (you do not speak as you are British and muttering under your breath is the done thing), they are oblivious and do not care. The only reprieve is when a second OBT arrives and does unto that troll, what it did to you. Karma.

  4. You don’t have kids then? Always makes me laugh when flying business with my young children. The looks from fellow passengers! Children in business? How very dare they! Possibly envy, perhaps as a child they flew at the rear? Kids are kids and yes they are uncontrollable at times, even noisy! – even in lounges and on flights! You are definitely one if the CERTAIN TYPES missing from your list!

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