You know the feeling. You check in online, drop your bag curbside and head toward the security checkpoint at a leisurely pace, passport and smartphone boarding pass in hand. You have so much time to kill, you consider grabbing a coffee on your way but then change your mind after considering the pitfalls of having to chug macchiato when you reach the front of the line.
You’re happy with your decision (albeit less caffeinated), and then you see it. A massive barely moving hoard of people that resembles an extras casting call for “The Walking Dead.” All you can do to pass time without draining your phone battery is people watch, but let’s be honest, it’s more entertaining than anything your Facebook friends have to offer.
Next time you find yourself lining up for the long haul before your long-haul, keep an eye out for these 10 people you always see in line for airport security.Search for flights
The person who refuses to admit their carry-on is WAY too big
They swear it’s regulation and they’ve taken it aboard planes before, but you’re convinced this is an old wives’ tale they’ve rehearsed in front of a mirror as they lug it through the winding line, nearly taking out every pole they weave past like a 16-year-old student driver navigating a cones course. They can also be seen struggling to cram their bag into one of the carry-on size receptacles, hoisting it onto the conveyer belt using all of their leg strength, or later, arms flailing as they argue over the need to gate check.
The person wrangling a small herd of children
This multi-tasker can be seen juggling three carry-ons, a diaper bag and a newborn baby, while simultaneously keeping three kids wearing Mickey ears and arguing over who gets the window seat in check. You’re getting tired just trying to avoid tripping over the little one who is playing a really ineffective game of duck duck goose with all the line divider poles. Your best bet is to avoid eye contact and prepare for an interesting flight to Orlando.
The person who forgot to separate their liquids and gels
We understand last-minute packing – who hasn’t been there? And it can be easy to forget you have eye drops or a tube of lip gloss in your pocket, but did you really think that Costco size jug of cologne was going to make it through? No one wants to be in line behind the person chugging the 22 ounce Poland Spring by the trashcan – and no one wants to be in the aisle seat of a row with that same person later.
The person wearing way too many layers and accessories
You’re at the airport, not preparing for a wilderness trek or dressing for an 18th-century ball. Was that second belt really necessary? And do people still wear watch fobs? The lady with the arm full of metal bangles and 17 rings will make you wish Magneto was moonlighting as a TSA agent. Pro-tip: Leave the lace-up knee boots and/or three-piece suit at home. When you’re finished, the plastic bin shouldn’t look like your laundry hamper at the end of the week.
The person who doesn’t have to take their shoes off
We all put our shoes on one foot at a time, and we all take them off the same way. Unless you’re over 75 or randomly selected, in which case you’ve earned that elusive right to mosey through security without dirtying up your socks. But, everyone’s seen the person who’s let the power go to their heads, turning their noses up at all those folks begrudgingly unlacing. Remember, you were there once too.
The person who insists on using five plastic bins
Save some for the rest of us. We get that you need your laptop and it’s required that you give it its own plastic bin, and maybe you don’t want your shoes touching your hat, but are your sunglasses too cool to share a bin with your sweatshirt and your zip-top bag of liquids? Like Axe body spray on a long-haul flight, when it comes to plastic bins, use in moderation.
The person too hungover to follow directions
If you smell like whiskey and children are avoiding you, it may be time to reevaluate some life choices. Also, the first rule of being hungover in a line: pay attention. One task at a time, and right now your only mission is to propel yourself forward in a timely fashion. Soon you’ll be able to doze off (or continue drinking) in the relative comfort of economy (say a silent prayer for extra legroom and a window seat), but until then, you have a job to do.
The person who forgets to wear socks
Everyone has seen these vacay-ready travelers — these chipper beach-bound early morning flyers are usually at the airport two hours early and checked in with time to spare as they skip to security with passport, boarding pass and carefully separated baggy of liquids and gels in hand. But, as they approach the plastic bins, they look down and realize what you noticed all along — they have made a horrible mistake. You may have done an Olympic qualifying sprint to the security line still in your pajamas from the night before, but at least your bare toes aren’t about to touch airport floor.
The person bound for spring break
You hear them before you see them. They’re the ones you give side eye to, but secretly envy as they head to the beach for a vacation they’ll never remember. They’re a unique hybrid of the hungover person, the person who forgot to wear socks and the person who forgot to separate their liquids. Also their liquids are mostly mini bottles of Fireball. Your best bet is to sneak in front of them while they huddle together for a group selfie.
The person who doesn’t know where they are
Who, me? It’s my turn? Take off my shoes you say? Hmm, what’s that in my pocket? Oh, look at that. An aerosol can of hairspray and a snow globe. How did those get there? I could have sworn that’s where I put my boarding pass. Just give me a minute here…
Main image: istockphoto.com/kasto80