Anybody who travels regularly knows that there are Leisure Travelers and Business Travelers who occupy the space in our airports. The fun thing about traveling is learning some of the finer points of identifying particular species of Business Travelers. For those of you just learning this art, here’s a quick lesson…
The Suit and Tie
Natural Habitats: LaGuardia, O’Hare, LAX, Atlanta, Dulles, Houston
Distinguishing Traits: Crisply pressed suit and tie (pocket square likely), hard sided briefcase, phone constantly to the ear having ‘very important conversation,’ curt to all other passengers and airline personnel, most often seen on flights before 8a and after 8p (with tie loosened, but not off).
The Sportcoat, Slacks, No Tie
Natural Habitats: Charlotte, Boston, Miami, DFW, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit
Distinguishing Traits: Only slightly less uptight than Suit and Tie, this guy has meetings to get to, but isn’t as self-important or just has a more relaxed corporate environment, also on the phone constantly, but at least courteous to other passengers and airline staff, still likely to carry a briefcase, but may be soft sided, most often seen on flights mid-morning and mid-afternoon because he doesn’t have to cram every single minute of every day with work.
The Sportcoat and Jeans
Natural Habitats: Same as Sportcoat, Slacks, No Tie, but also occasionally seen in San Diego, Portland, Nashville, Birmingham, and San Antonio
Distinguishing Traits: Relaxed and laid back, this guy is either done with his meetings and threw on some jeans to wind down or (like me) has a job where this uniform is the norm (creative businesses of all types wear this uniform), mixture of soft-sided briefcases and backpacks carried by this species, but he is only on the phone with the wife and kids and is almost always courteous to everyone, most often seen mid-morning and mid-afternoon but you’ll also see him on a red-eye after a long west coast work day
The Blue Collar
Natural Habitats: This species is everywhere, but concentrated in Dallas Love Field, Denver, Phoenix, Chicago Midway, Jacksonville, Birmingham, Nashville, and any other regional airport
Distinguishing Traits: The style varies, but there are always boots (cowboy or work), there are usually jeans or pressed khakis, and there is nearly always a button down shirt with a logo on the chest, also common to see a matching logo jacket (Carhhart is preferred) and some sort of hat, overly courteous to everyone, rarely on his flip phone, if he carries a bag it will be beat up and rugged, and he is always anxious to get to the bar
Natural Habitats: most often found flying TO a regional airport
Distinguishing Traits: very difficult to distinguish from a Leisure Traveler, one must look carefully for tell tale signs – dress socks with a jogging suit and sneakers, a briefcase that doesn’t fit with the outfit, far too many self-important cell phone calls, and dropping the corporate credit card at the bar after one too many in his relaxed state; on rare occasions, this species will also throw on the sportcoat that he doesn’t want to wrinkle in his bag over the jogging suit
Easily identifiable, but no defining characteristics. Most female business travelers look like they could immediately walk into a CEO level business meeting or a PTA board meeting without missing a beat. All species pretty much the same.
I hope this will make your next trip to the airport more interesting and enjoyable. Happy Hunting.