How to behave in airports: A guide

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way responsible for anything that happens as a result of you following this guide or anything that happens during your life as a result of your debilitating inability to understand sarcasm. Additionally, this post was written on a iPad with anxiously shaking hands and a severe time limit (I’m being called to the gate and about to engage rule 6) so please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors. 

I find myself in Sydney airport staring down the barrel of a 15 hour flight and bottle of valium. Rather than sitting here constantly visualizing my plane exploding, I’m forcing myself to observe my surroundings and focus on something other than my imminent death. Which brings me to my realization of my utmost hatred of airports. They’re gigantic; stressful shopping Mecca’s that someone has cleverly added a sterilized smell, complicated signs and a few runways to.

To ease my flying anxiety levels (I don’t understand how planes work and thus am scared of them) I thought I’d comprise a (non-comprehensive) list of apparently compulsory behaviors when in an airport:

(It should go without saying that you should arrive late. It’s so painfully obvious that it doesn’t warrant it’s own point).

1. You are the most important person in the airport. Actually, you’re the most important person that has ever lived.
This is an idea that you can (and should) apply at every possible juncture of your trip. It is imperative that you remember you are the most important person in the airport. This gives you complete license to behave in ways that outside the airport are seen as rude, abrasive, arrogant and completely unacceptable.

2. Queuing is more of a guideline than a rule.
In airports, queuing doesn’t really apply. If you happen to find yourself in a line, tut loudly and ensure everyone around you knows exactly how annoyed you are at having to line up.  Ensure you wait for the opportune moment, when the person in front of you is retrieving something from their backpack or checking their phone and then try and squeeze in front of them. You can make the most of this situation when you have a family – getting four people and a crying baby into the gap is an excellent technique and will be appreciated by all. Lastly, do not give anyone in the queue any personal space. At all. Ever. Stand no more than 20 centimeters away from the person in front of you and make sure your bags are touching them at all times.

3. Checked baggage must be oversized and unreasonably heavy.
Ensure that any baggage you check in before departure weighs no less than a Mazda 2. This means that not only can you obstruct everyone around you with an enormous bag that is impossible to move; it will also cost you the total GDP of Botswana to get it onto the plane. When you’re inevitably told that you will have to pay an extra fee for your significant weight violation, make an extremely emotional, Oscar-worthy scene before paying the fee you knew you’d have to pay.

4. Act as if security is ruining your life.
When you arrive at security, don’t do what they ask. Don’t remove your coat, belt and shoes and don’t put your phone, laptop and metals in the tray provided. Just don’t. As you hold up everyone behind you; when you get asked to do the aforementioned things, exhale loudly and act as if you have just been accused of international terrorism. When placing liquids into small plastic bags, ensure they’re all over the permitted limit and then loudly complain about the ‘bureaucratic insanity’ and ‘post 9/11 nightmare’ this ordeal is.

5. Shop like you’ve never shopped before.
Shop like a pissed off zombie with a penchant for extreme capitalism. Ignore that you have no space in your hand luggage and buy everything you can see. When in doubt, buy two.

6. When you’re called to the gate, engage rule one immediately.
You should always engage rule one, but here it’s particularly essential. Speed is of the essence. Take no prisoners. Run and verbally abuse everyone to get to your gate. Nobody has immunity now. You are the master of your destiny, and no one should dare come between you and your specially reserved seat next to the other less-specially reserved seats.

When you’re at your gate, don’t take a seat and wait patiently until you’re called to board. Stand at the desk and force a smug, self-righteous smile. You standing there will inspire everybody else to think that they aren’t going to get a seat on the aircraft. Before you know it, your behavior will have encouraged the entire plane to stand up and queue for the next hour. You are doing an excellent service.

7. Holding everyone behind you up is vital to your happiness.
Do not follow instructions and have appropriate documents ready to display. Actually make sure they are at the bottom of your bag and you have spilt at least half a bottle of orange juice all over them.
Additionally, when you’re told that your hand luggage exceeds the permitted size and you have to check in it (after obeying rule 5 of course), remember that this is entirely the airline employees’ fault. They personally made the rules and are intentionally ruining your holiday. Rip them a new one for keeping the rule consistent. All whilst holding everyone behind you up.


1. Behave like a total wanker. (It’s an all encompassing rule).
Where possible, behave as inappropriately as you can. Speak loudly so everyone can hear you. Poke your children until they are grumpy and crying for the entire duration of the flight. Fall asleep on the person next to you. Complain about the lack of leg room by kicking the seat in front of you. Criticize the price of drinks and the fact your 2-hour flight doesn’t come with an in-flight meal. If, by chance you do have an in-flight meal ensure everyone knows that you hate airline food and it tastes like cat piss. Also, make sure everyone is aware that you’re listening to the latest Lady Gaga single and artistically, it’s the best work she’s ever done.

Further ideas include taking a window seat and going to the bathroom every 20 minutes, laughing like a demented hyena at any in-flight entertainment and speaking loudly through safety demonstrations. If challenged, loudly proclaim that you can swim and don’t actually need any advice.


1. Get up and get your bags before the aircraft is parked.
The split second after your plane has made contact with the runway, take your seatbelt off and grab your bags from the overhead compartments. Members of the crew may tell you not to, but they’re not even your real Dad and you can do whatever you like. Don’t forget to make negative comments about the weather and scramble to the front of the plane to ensure you disembark first. Ensure, where possible you obstruct and hinder the lives of others.

2. Make picking up checked baggage as big an ordeal as humanly possible.
Use points 1 and 2 to navigate your way through passport control. Ignore the fact there are hundreds of bags that needs to be processed and loudly explain to everyone that your 4 minute wait is just unacceptable. Get in the way of anyone trying to get their bags. Complain how you will never travel with *insert airline* ever again. Combine this with a loud telephone conversation about your nightmare trip for full effect.


8 thoughts on “How to behave in airports: A guide

  1. Pingback: Ain’t no mountain high enough… | ilovethedangerindistance.

  2. Pingback: Ain’t no mountain high enough… | ilovethedangerindistance.

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