As a general rule of thumb, for most people it’s normal to arrive at least two hours before your scheduled time of departure. This is to ensure you actually have enough time to check-in, clear security and immigration, and find your gate.

But often, most of us end up spending a whole hell of a lot longer waiting around in airports.

Although it’s totes annoying having to bide your time away at boring airport terminals (well, mostly boring, unless you’re flying out of these bad boys) that charge a small fortune for a cup of coffee or a sandwich, waiting around does give you a chance to do some serious people watching.

So the next time you’re at the airport and waiting for your flight to depart, keep an eye out for these facial expressions…


1. The terminator


Looking for a powerpoint to charge your phone or laptop is nearly always a mission (impossible) at airports. There never seems to be enough to go round, which means you need to get into Terminator mode and scan the terminal like a cyborg.

Like Arnie in the movie, you’ve no time for chit-chat or small talk, and see other human beings as mere obstacles standing in the way between you and completing your mission.

Frown: 4/5

Intensity: 5/5

Facial tension: 3/5


2. Panic stations


This is the face you’ll see on travellers who are running late to their gate and are facing the real possibility of missing their flights.

Warning: You do not want to get in the way of these travellers, lest you cop a verbal and/or physical lashing!

Frown: 3/5

Intensity: 5/5

Facial tension: 5/5


3. The drunkard


Some passengers deal with lengthy airport waiting times by drinking themselves into a stupor. You can pick these travellers out from an escalator away – they’ll be the ones struggling to walk straight whilst looking as a red as a tomato.

Frown: 1/5

Intensity: 2/5

Facial tension: 1/5


4. The zombie


A sleep debt in the double digits and a cumulative total of 30 hours flying time produces a particular facial expression that you’ve seen before on the screen.

This is the zombie look, and most mortal travellers aren’t immune to having it sprout on their face after too much flying and not enough sleep.

Frown: 3/5

Intensity: 2/5

Facial tension: 1/5


5. Stressed out Sally


These travellers have simply had enough and cannot deal with one more frustrating airport annoyance, such as having to find another toilet as it’s being cleaned, or being cast aside for an impromptu explosives test swab.

Walking the fine line between acceptable civilised behaviour and a manic temper tantrum, you can usually pick these travellers out by the look of complete disdain on their faces.

Frown: 5/5

Intensity: 5/5

Facial tension: 5/5

Do you recognise any of these airport facial expressions?