The five 'personas' travellers adopt when they get to the airport

British Airways reveals five ‘personas’ travellers adopt when they catch their flight, from the ‘ambler’ to the ‘athlete’ – so does YOUR personality change when you get to the airport?

  • The Airport Ace is the most common persona while Airport Ambler is the least
  • READ MORE: Best vs worst UK seaside resort from Bamburgh to Skegness

Does your personality change once you reach the airport?

More than half of Britons say they adopt a new identity when they catch a flight, according to a new survey by British Airways, which pinpoints five different ‘airport personas’. 

The most common is the Airport Ace, who is ‘fully prepped’ and ‘more likely to take charge of the check-in process’. The rarest airport personality is the Airport Ambler, who doesn’t tend to rush and will likely be the last person to board the plane.

Read on for more on these and the other three personas, as revealed in the BA research… 


The Airport Ace can’t be missed as they are at the front of the pack, carrying all the group passports and can often be overhead assertively giving directions 

This airport persona is ‘fully prepped and the designated leader when travelling with a group’, the study says.

It continues: ‘They are the most organised and do all the prep for their travel party, probably seen carrying their own perfectly pre-packed liquid bags with spares for the rest of their group.

‘The Airport Ace can’t be missed as they are at the front of the pack, carrying all the group passports and can often be overhead assertively giving directions.’

Almost half (49 per cent) of those surveyed for the study said they consider themselves an ‘Airport Ace’, the most common persona.

In addition, results show that travellers from the East Midlands (59 per cent) are more likely to take charge and adopt this persona.


More than two in five Britons (43 per cent) say they go with the flow ‘on Airport Autopilot’ and are ‘happy to take a back seat and let someone else take charge at the airport’, the research shows.

Those most happy to be led are from the East of England, according to the research, which says these travellers ‘tend to trail at the back, always following  directions and don’t often break away’.

It adds: ‘More often than not, they don’t even know where their gate is, as they leave it down to the Airport Ace.’


Airport Athletes can often be spotted darting through the crowds and are constantly on the move 

Always ‘eyeing up queues’, the Airport Athlete is said to treat the airport ‘like a competitive sport’.

Making up 15 per cent of holidaymakers, this persona strives to be ‘among the first to get on and off the plane and the first to get their baggage after landing’, the study says.

It adds: ‘Airport Athletes can often be spotted darting through the crowds and are constantly on the move, always eyeing up queues trying to work out how to get ahead and spend as little time as possible dwelling in the airport.’

The Airport Athlete persona resonates most with Northern Irish holidaymakers (22 per cent), the findings reveal. 


You will likely find the Airport Adventurer exploring Duty Free 

Happy to ‘break away from the pack and spend a lot of time exploring the airport’, you will likely find the Airport Adventurer exploring Duty Free, sampling the restaurants or simply wandering the halls of the airport terminal.

This persona makes up just eight per cent of travellers, according to the study which says they are ‘most likely to come back with a new gadget from their airport exploration that they didn’t know they needed’.

Describing them as ‘lone wolves’, the study says that Airport Adventurers are ‘not often seen in a group so that they can make the most of the airport without distractions from their travel companions’.


Almost one third of British holidaymakers arrive early at the airport, according to the study

The least common airport persona of all is the Airport Ambler, accounting for just four per cent of travellers.

Those of the ambler persuasion have the most relaxed approach to travel, ‘taking their time to make it to the aircraft and often being among the last people to get onto the plane’, the study says.

It adds: ‘The amblers don’t tend to rush. They are the ones who will stop off for the all-important holiday photo in front of the plane, sometimes holding up the rest of their party.’

Scots are the biggest Airport Amblers, with one in ten saying this persona resonated with them in the study.

BA customer service agent Pauline Price said: ‘Having worked at British Airways for nearly 18 years, I have seen every type of traveller head through the airport, from the ace who takes responsibility and knows where they are headed, to the Airport Autopilot who goes with the flow.

‘We are always on hand to help, but to make it easier for customers, our expert travel teams at British Airways have pulled together a list of everything travellers need to prepare for their trip that can be found on our website and in our new pre-travel email.’

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With more than a quarter (28 per cent) of Britons forgetting an item at the airport because they are not fully prepared, British Airways reveals six ways to take off as an Airport Ace:

1. Have it all at your fingertips. Check in from 24 hours before departure and get your boarding pass with the British Airways app.

2. Make sure your favourite things are folded, rolled, zipped up, and light enough, to be ready to roll. Check your baggage allowance.

3. Make sure your lotions and potions are no more than 100ml and presented separately in a sealed, see-through bag and place your electronic gadgetry in their own tray to breeze through security.

4. Every second counts. If you’re criss-crossing the globe on a long-haul flight, you’ll need to arrive at the airport no more than three hours before your flight. If you’re doing a short-haul jaunt, it’s two hours before.

5. Check when you need to be at your gate, as sometimes it can be up to 50 minutes before your flight is due to leave.

6. Join the British Airways Executive Club and earn Avios that can be used to discount the cost of future travel.

Source: BA 

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