Why Airports Are The Most Emotional Places In The World

Last Updated on August 6, 2022

It wasn’t until I really sat down and thought about it, that it occurred to me just how emotional airports can be.  Just think about experiences that you might have had.  I know that I personally must have experienced what feels like every emotion on the spectrum!  It fascinates me to sit at an airport and wonder where people are coming from or going to and what their stories are and now I’m going to share with you some of mine!

Airport Feelings


Lets start with the one that the majority of holiday makers experience, the EXCITEMENT!  I know this is something I’ve felt at both the departure and arrival airports!  Sitting in departures (read as ‘the pub’…even at 3am it’s acceptable to have a beer with your breakfast), finally getting a break from reality and you’re going to be jetting off for X amount of time to go on a new adventure/to exploring/to relax.

Pint of Shandy

I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, especially landing into a new place…I want the window seat, if not I look like a meerkat trying to peer out of somebody else’s window!  I love the excitement of seeing a landscape for the first time as you come into land.  Is it green?  Hilly?  Built up?  Are the roads busy?  Is the sun shining?!

Landing in Chicago

When you finally reach the terminal, you’re willing your luggage to come out first so you can hit the road as soon as possible!  Then what does the weather feel like?  Do you hit the heat barrier or is it freezing cold?!


Or maybe you’re NERVOUS about arriving!  If there’s a language barrier it can often be overwhelming especially if you need toxsdd catch public transport and need to buy onward tickets and figure out timetables or directions!

Expat Coming Home


As an expat I can not even describe the feeling of arriving home knowing that your family will be waiting to greet you at the airport after many months apart!  The ANTICIPATION literally kills you!!  I find myself having to hold myself back from literally sprinting from the airplane door to the arrivals area!!  That immigration line can not move fast enough!  


Next time you come through arrivals, just hang back for a few moments and watch some of the reunions and watch the pure HAPPINESS on people’s faces.


Speaking of immigration lines…what about the ANNOYING feelings for airport life?  Getting FRUSTRATED at slow moving lines or not being able to find a seat in the departure lounge.  The DISAPPOINTMENT of having a flight cancelled or the PARANOIA that a delayed flight may make you miss a tight connection.

Airport Over Night


Airports are often hectic, crazy places but can you believe that during an all-nighter I actually saw a different side to the airport, almost a sense of RELAXATION and PEACEFULNESS.  All the flights were over for the day and the few people that were left in the terminal were just strolling around with no real rush to get anywhere, others were curled up having a nap.  Chicago O’Hare has a yoga room and Singapore even has a swimming pool!


Then you have the complete opposite end of the scale from happiness which is SADNESS, a feeling that I unfortunately experience too often now, airports always used to be my happy place.  Living so far away from home make airport goodbyes really tough.  The last time I left the UK I cried constantly until I was about 2 hours into the flight.  It’s a horrible EMPTY, LONELY feeling, especially when you’re surrounded by lots of happy people heading off on their trips!

What are some of the emotions that you’ve experienced at an airport?  Are there any others you’d add to the list?! 

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Why Airports Are THE Most Emotional Places in the World

17 thoughts on “Why Airports Are The Most Emotional Places In The World

  1. You know, until this post I never realized…but it’s true! Airports are emotional places! I’m always filled with mixed emotions and bittersweet feelings when I’m at the airport. I feel a lot of anxiety actually. Anxious is an emotion I’d add to the list. Great post!

  2. I couldn’t agree more. My then boyfriend (now husband) and I were in a long-distance relationship for 2 years. During that time I developed a real love-hate relationship with airports. I was happy when I was picking him up, sad to see him go. Happy to travel to see him, sad to go back home. Ugh, what a rollercoaster!

  3. I tend to think of airports as places full of excitement and anticipation….on one side of security then there’s the pure hatred of the system and bloody mindedness of some staff (And the amazement when you find an actual human working there ).

    1. That’s very true! Sometimes the workers are enough to put you in a bad mood! It’s almost like in a shop or a restaurant you expect everyone to have great customer service…however in an airport that part of the job description doesn’t seem to appear!

  4. So true! I completely agree with you!
    The most fascinating thing for me is that you see so many people and you see a list of all different countries and cities on the screen and you wonder where’s everyone going, are they going home? Are they going away from home? Are they sad to leave or rather happy? It could be everything. It is definitely a very emotional place.

    1. Yes! I completely agree Cristina! I used to live under the London Stansted flight path and would sit in the garden and watch the planes and wonder the same thing! (We had a flight app too where you could see what flight number was flying above you!!)

  5. I’ve been through all of these too! Airports are definitely super emotional places and you never really know how you’re going to feel. I like that too, the anticipation of how it’s gonna make you feel 🙂

    1. They used to be my happy place until I became an expat and now they are my happy place 50% of the time…like so happy i’m skipping across the concourse! The other 50% I’m the lonely loser crying my eyes out haha.

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