I’m typing this while sitting in an airport club lounge.
I’m partial to the airline club lounges, as it allows me to wait for my flight without having to be out in what the airline industry calls “General Population.” Come to think of it, I think that’s something from the prison industry, but who’s counting?
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of the airport lounge, let me give you a guided tour of what you can expect should you be allowed to be let into one.
You know those post-apocalypse enclaves you see on “The Walking Dead?” Those enclaves are a place where a select few are eating good food, relaxing in nice, clean quarters, and sneering derisively at the rotten, disgusting, shambling wretches that are wandering aimlessly outside, safe from the dead bodies, fetid stench and general ugliness of the outside world. The only difference is that there are no zombies at the airport.
First, you walk up to the desk, or screening area, where a cheerful staff member requests your ticket, ID, and proof of membership. If you don’t have one, you are politely asked to leave and are summarily executed. Maybe. I don’t know.
After being vetted, you are given access to the club, along with the password for free wi-fi, while the animals outside are forced to use up their precious data plans and not be able to use their computers.
Let them eat Cinnabon.
Once you get in, you will be provided with free food, of varying quality, depending on the club. The one I’m in right now features scrambled eggs with mascarpone cheese, challah French Toast, and other fancy breakfast edibles. There is also a free bar in the lounge, where you can stare in awe at the people who are slamming screwdrivers and pints of beer at 6:45 on a Monday morning. I’m not trying to be judgmental, but you can tell that these are the people you read about getting hauled off flights after going on a drunken tirade and having to be duct-taped to the seat by six members of the flight crew.
There will also be at least one retired couple in their late 70s who look…how do I say this…too confused to be in here. They are habitually looking at their flight itinerary with a confused expression, as if it was as complex as the invasion plans for Operation Overlord. Both of these people will probably be robbed and killed on a tropical island within twelve hours.
There will also be the solo business guy. He comes in two flavors. The first type is the one you would expect. Shirt and tie, suit coat or sport coat draped over a chair, furiously tapping away at his laptop and talking too loudly into his cell phone about how “Kellerman’s team is losing 15% revenue, and something needs to be done about the KPI and his ROI is off, and he’ll be SOL if we don’t synergize outside of the box while streamlining the metrics within the MOB…” I’m positive these guys talk that loudly because they want to be regarded by other people in the club as movers and shakers. Captains of industries. They’re douchebags. Douchebags with lifetime subscriptions to “Golf Digest.”
The other flavor is what you could call “business guy 2.0;” a variation of the solo business guy. He will normally be wearing a trim-fitting sport coat and dress shirt (no tie) over slim-fit jeans, and almost always wearing bit loafers or driving shoes. He will have an expensive watch, and will normally be in his mid-forties to mid-fifties. You won’t see him working on a laptop or barking into a cell phone about business matters. He is in mid-life crisis, and his wife is probably cheating on him. Because he is out of the house and away from his loveless marriage, you will see him try to hit on every waitress or female bartender that he can, trying to woo them with the fact that he has some money. He does this because he probably got beat up a lot in high school and now that he has some money, this is how he can feel better about himself, since we know that women would be attracted to him just as much if he didn’t have that money. If you take the time to talk to him, you will understand why his wife is cheating on him. Which leads us to…
The solo woman in her forties, who is wearing Lulu Lemon yoga pants, has a four-carat diamond ring, and Louis Vuitton luggage. She’s not dressed for business, unless we hypothesize that she owns a bunch of yoga studios, and I can never figure out what her story is. I assume that her husband is the guy from the last paragraph, who is probably trolling for waitresses in a different club lounge at the airport. That probably explains her presence in this lounge. She we will be drinking white wine, no matter the time of day, while tapping away on an iPhone housed in a Swarovski crystal-encrusted case.
That covers the main archetypes that you’ll find in the airport club lounges. I would have liked to detail them further, and maybe have even listed a few more sub-types, but my flight boards soon, and I have to make a call and synergize with some co-workers regarding the KPI metrics.