You have definitely seen them. No matter which airport you are, the stereotypes remain and after a few frequent travels, you will be familiar with their categories. And if you are not yet, then read on and identify which of these have you seen the most.
The coma patient
Not someone in need of medical attention; merely someone in transit, off a long-haul flight, and in such desperate need of sleep that he or she is willing to cast all dignity aside and fall to the floor in an unconscious heap. If you were to see such a person anywhere else - a public park or the entrance to a dark alley - sprawled headlong on the ground, fully dressed, their belongings scattered about them, you might very well imagine the worst and summon the emergency services. In an airport, you just step quietly over their curled-up or outstretched limbs.
The mad hatter
Not a reference to actual headgear, typically the Mad Hatter is one whose sense of perpetual lateness - with the consequent fear of missing a flight and life somehow falling apart at the seams - is almost always a state of mind rather than a response to temporal reality. He or she is breathless and flushed, forever rushing towards a departure gate, where the queue will turn out to be unmoving.
The gadget addict
Hooked on the idle pleasures of 'mobile electronic devices', this person will ever be engrossed in their electronic devices. This does not mean they are idle, so do not make any assumptions.
The flustered parents
Mum and Dad, gamely struggling to marshal the troops. Their struggle is more or less bound, in the face of delay, hunger or illness, to end in gales of tears and howls of misery. The flustered parents command sympathy from fellow travellers, at least initially; but after a certain point their struggle becomes the common struggle of all within earshot. The flustered parents are also, these days, gadget addicts. Observe in particular the use of the iPad as a narcotic to pacify the little natives when they begin to grow restless.
The soft-textures wearer
Found across all parts of the airport, almost always female, she may be festooned in a lovely pashmina, Loro Piana cardigan and Diane von Furstenberg-esque cotton wrap. Or she may sport trackie-bums, a fleece and baseball cap.
Dressed for destination
Distantly related to the foregoing, though more inclined to think beyond the immediate physical discomfort of the journey itself, these are the jolliest and most cheering of airport sights - and indeed of travellers.
The business-class creative
Almost invariably male, at first glance they can easily be mistaken for a student or a contender in an X-Factor. However, upon closer inspection he reveals himself to be some kind of a celebrity, probably in advertising, technology or the media. Close inspection is seldom required to reach this conclusion as the information will generally be volunteered to the rest of the lounge, in a loud voice, with tell-tale references to 'clients', 'accounts', meetings conducted in well-known restaurants or exotic locations.
The mobile-office slave
Possibly the most pitiable of airport types, a half-sibling of the gadget addict, minus the sense of fun that the gamer or Kindle-user enjoys and projects, frequently observed pounding the keys of his or her computer, as if deadlines not jet aircraft were flying by on the other side of the waiting-lounge window. Appearance-wise, the mobile-office slave looks distressingly like the person writing, right now, the article that you are reading, right now - tall, skinny, glasses, hunched over a MacBook in a quiet corner of the airport.