Observing people at the airport

Airport moods can be captured if you walk around and observe. A view of IGIA T3.


‘What do you do when you cross the security check and have a lot of time on your hands?’ asked a friend once.

‘Well, I talk to my wife,’ I answered simply.

‘And when you’re alone?’ he persisted.

‘I observe through my camera,’ I answered, without a pause. This seemed to convince him… no, not my answer, but the speed with which I answered. Truth is that when you answer without pausing to rearrange your thoughts, you tend to reflect facts that generally people love to otherwise garnish or camouflage.

This time when I flew to Sydney, I was alone and that old and faded conversation came back with a bounce. The moment I crossed the security check barrier, I just took out my camera and walked slowly towards the boarding gates thinking, ‘How many times will I capture the same shops, the same interiors?’ And then suddenly I actually began to observe little things that probably escape most fliers.

I saw a family of four take out a home-packed bag and as I closed in on them I overheard that they were actually eating ‘parathas’! Yes, they were stuffed parathas and I was rather surprised. International flights normally give you a lot to eat and most of it is good… which just meant that either this family was too hungry or thought they would be flying out to a distant destination empty-stomach.


Some sleep at airports…










Some are lost in their tech toys…










Some get ‘parathas’ from home…










…and some stretch on the sofa and snore!










My observation did tell me that there were seven types of fliers you generally meet in airport terminals:

  1. The sleepers who just close their eyes and sleep anywhere.
  2. The eaters who either bring eatables from home or just sit around having snacks, juices, colas, and coffee.
  3. The communicators who find some place and sit with their laptops, tabs, iPads or phones and keep themselves busy messaging inanities.
  4. The readers who will take a book out anywhere and start reading. They are the ones who will rely more on what others observe… and will tend to feel they are the most observant without actually having spent any time in observing anything or anyone.
  5. Then there are those who love to while away their time just roaming around aimlessly. They wouldn’t be bothered much about their cameras nor their notebooks or iPads… they just walk around and most of the time they too hardly observe anything or remember much of what they could have seen during their aimless jaunts!
  6. The shoppers and the talkers form the sixth group. They are the ones responsible for the constant hum and buzz that is there on airport terminals… or bus stations or train stations, for that matter… they are forever discussing things and people and form the largest bulk of those waiting at any terminal anywhere.
  7. The last category is of people like me who will take their camera out at the slightest provocation and start clicking…

This picture was clicked at Sydney Airport… thus you see the same moods all over the world!










Here is another playing with his tech toy at Bangkok airport!











The best thing about any airport terminal is that it is always bustling with people as there is one or the other flight leaving at any time of the day or night… well, at least the busier ones are full of people at all times.

My trip to Sydney obviously took me to the T3 at IGIA, New Delhi, which is one of the busier airports in the world.

It isn’t that the categories that I have mentioned were exclusive to the Delhi airport… I could see similar sign in Bangkok and even in Sydney. The pictures that I took are ample proof of what I am saying.

Here is a video on my observations at the airport terminal:


Here are a few more pictures that reflect the inside of an airport:

The reflective roof at Bangkok airport… catching moods from a different angle!














Picture taken in the boarding area at Bangkok airport… when it is dark outside, the interior reflects well!

This is me… at IGIA T3… on my way to Sydney!



…and this too is me… on my way back to Delhi at the Sydney airport.




This blog post has been contributed by Arvind Passey on his travel to Australia. Read more about Arvind at http://passey.info/


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