Airports are said to be one of the busiest workplaces in the world. Big or small, airports play a special role as take-off and landing places for air transportations such as airplanes, helicopters and other aircrafts.
More often than not, all the people in the airport whether one is a passenger or an employee, are moving at a fast pace and time is a very important element for travelers and airport personnel.
As I was entering the airport, I already noticed passengers hurrying in or out of the waiting area. People from different races ranging from Asians, Caucasians, Africans, and Europeans among others were present everywhere.
Some were talking, walking and running, making calls and carrying babies, some were standing still while some others were sitting. Some were falling in line to buy tickets, rescheduled their trips and raised their own concerns.
Some were falling in line to proceed with their respective flights. Some were busy with their baggage and personal belongings. Some were too occupied with their appointments that they barely noticed what’s going on around them. The swiftness of the works made me dizzy as I continue watching each and every person within the premises. It was such an amazing sight!
The ages of the passengers ranged from very young ages to older ages that are adequate and healthy enough to travel by air. Women, men, gays and lesbians — all sorts of genders were present at that moment as demonstrated by their physical appearances. Practically all types of personalities were there as depicted in their being sociable, shy, liberated, loud, soft spoken, noisy, angry, hostile, and gentle.
Most gays were noisy and too advanced to be recognized while lesbians were quite silent and reserved. These factors revealed their particular identities even if I only heard their voices, without really listening to what they were conversing about.
In terms of dresses, some wore casual outfits, some formal attire while others had on ragged apparels. Some were chic and stylish, some were simple.
Some looked like they just got out from Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, GQ and other fashion magazines. Most women enhanced their clothing with accessories such as watches, jewelry, handbags, hats and caps, belts, scarves, sunglasses and other decorative items.
Their foot wears varied from sneakers to sandals to clogs to wedges to pumps to loafers to boots and slippers. Some put on make-up while others stayed plain. As to hairstyles, I bet some dropped by the parlor to have their hair done while others remained uncomplicated.
Business-looking and model-like passengers had good, commanding postures and kept a superior stance. Just by noting their body language, one could tell the kind of occupations these people have. Those who were smooth and well-kept have executive jobs as they monitored their organizers and laptops.
Most of them did not hang up their mobile phones for the time being. They brought along with them suitcases and laptop cases. Their facial expressions also shared a bit about what they were going through — whether they were in a rush or they only have pleasure trips. Most belonged to the middle class while some were upper class passengers.
Within the field site, most people were arranged in groups — families, friends or work groups. Families usually were crowded especially with children around and most of them, there’s too many of them in the company. Those travelling with friends somehow gave the impression that they were off for a good time or vacation.
The work groups had serious appearances like they were about to attend meetings, conferences or important gatherings. Thus, they came out to be highly educated with white collar jobs.
However, there were some who travelled alone and entertained themselves by listening to their iPods or mp4 players, browsing their laptops or reading newspapers or books to pass the time away.
The airport employees wore their uniforms with corresponding identification cards and pins. They looked and acted smart and they entertained the passengers’ concerns. The crew had a variety of responsibilities to make airport accommodations readily available.
There were those responsible with the ticket desks, supervisors, maintenance, operations, food service and other functions. Airport security was also tight and they guarded the airport building quite firmly. They had sniffing dogs roaming around to catch possible terrorist plots as bombings.
The airport environment is one interesting workplace to observe. People are always on-the-go, active and alert. It is good to know that people who work at the airport are efficient with their jobs since they take responsibility for thousands of lives who depend on the competence of their services. For projects applying participant observation, the airport is such an excellent subject.
“Developing Your Observation Skills.” 05 September 2008. 05 September 2008 <http://www.servicelearning.umn.edu/students/resources/Developing_Your_Observation_Skills.html>
“Participant Observation.” 14 November 2004. 05 September 2008 <http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/methods/participant%20observation.html>
“Qualitative Research Methods: Participant Observation.” n.d. 05 September 2008 <http://uk.geocities.com/balihar_sanghera/qrmparticipantobservation.html>
revision-notes.co.uk. n.d. Participant observation. 05 September 5, 2008 <http://www.revision-notes.co.uk/revision/586.html>
“What is Ethnography?” n.d. 05 September 2008 <http://www.sas.upenn.edu/anthro/CPIA/METHODS/Ethnography.html>
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