Secrets of flying tribes to be on the lookout for
About 600,000 people are in the air at any one time, as passengers and crew of the 3,300 aircraft aloft somewhere.
Like all interesting nations and cities, the world’s population of fliers is diverse and constantly changing.
Shaun Pozyn, head of marketing at kulula.com , takes a light-hearted look at some of the “tribes” and what we can learn from them.
The regulars: A little like George Clooney’s world-weary character, Ryan Bingham, in the movie Up in the Air, these folk travel a lot and the novelty of being served bubbly while hurtling through the sky is long gone. They have tricks and hacks to get through check-in and security.
Like soldiers trained to fieldstrip and clean their weapons in the dark, they’ve honed the procedures of removing laptops and – in the case of international travel – liquids in plastic bags as they pass through security.
What we can learn: Streamlining. Some regular travellers may be a little preoccupied with whether turning left or right in the security queue is quicker – a few maintain that left is always quicker – but they do easy, genuinely useful things too.
Online check-in, bag-drops, reserved seating and lounge access all make things a little easier.
The A-lister: These regular travellers are secretly convinced everyone in the terminal and aircraft recognises them from the tabloid mags’ social pages and their Instagram feeds. They may sport sunglasses at any time of day or night.
They keep their phones ready to take pouty selfies with adoring fans as they head for another junket to sample a new cosmetics line, along with fellow social media influencers.
What we can learn: Lounge access gives you access to bath- room facilities where you can make sure your no-makeup makeup is on fleek – as the Alisters would say – before boarding, or simply relax with a drink and a snack.
Lounges, like the Slow lounges at most domestic airports, are more likely to be able to accommodate A-lister requests for gluten-free-decaf-nofoam-almond-latte-doubleshot-with-a-drizzle-of-caramel than the outlets in the terminal. Some have showers.
The globetrotter: This tribe ranges from the travelling vloggers tick-boxing through a dozen countries a year to aid workers travelling light while saving lives.
They all have their own proven ways of streamlining their journeys.
Some pack a minimum of clothing and launder them along the way.
Others swear by rolling clothes up rather than folding or have an array of high-tech gizmos like solar chargers for their devices or to purify water for drinking.
What we can learn: Keep an eye on special offers and updates on baggage allowances.
Globetrotters know these may vary between airlines.
The leisurely: These are often retired or empty-nesters travelling to see children and grandchildren.
You’ll see them exuding Zenlike calm in lounges or browsing airport shops.
What we can learn: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and through security.
The unusually proportioned: You needn’t be as tall as Boban Marjanovic – at 2.22m, the NBA’s tallest player this season – to feel you’d like a little extra legroom.
This tribe often endures I’mglad-I’m-not-him stares from fellow passengers, who may also dread sitting next to more generously proportioned fel- low passengers.
What we can learn: Know the trade-offs. If you’re tall, you’ll covet an exit-row seat for its legroom, but the in-flight entertainment screens in those seats are usually smaller.
The rebel: On aircraft they’re the ones who regard non-compliance with announcements as a symbol of individuality.
What we can learn: Airline safety instructions are in place for a reason.
Just follow them.
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