New Poll Attempts to Explain Why 'Airport Dads' Are Like That

Being an Airport Dad isn't just a lifestyle, some might even say it's a calling.

Photo courtesy of TikTok
Photo courtesy of TikTok

If you feel like you're an Airport Dad, you're not alone. According to a recent survey, Airport Dads are a far more common reality than you might think, and we should only be grateful for their existence.

That's right. Without Airport Dads, we'd simply be lost. The way I see it, it goes beyond gender, really—I am an Airport Dad myself, and I am also a childless, 27-year-old woman. Being an Airport Dad is a lifestyle, a philosophy to live by, a quest, even. It means that in the airport realm, you're in charge of yourself, of others in your travel party, and of the overall success and smoothness of the travel experience altogether. It's a heavy, heavy crown.

Embodying such a role and taking such charge comes with a few important characteristics and, most importantly, with crucial duties. Airport Dads must necessarily be Early at the Airport Girlies, and force everyone to get to the airport many hours earlier than needed to make sure potential hiccups are solved in time and flights aren't missed because of them. Repeatedly checking if everybody has all their travel documents is also a much-needed skill, as are being the one who checks in the whole travel party, creating a travel checklist, and obsessively monitoring departure screens at the airport. And don't forget packing way (way, way) in advance—that's an essential Airport Dad requirement as well. Still not sure what we're talking about? Check out the TikTok below (or this example, or this one) to catch up.

But while anybody can identify with the Airport Dad figure, it definitely finds its roots in actual dads—or so it seems, according to a recent survey shared with Thrillist by UK travel company Jet2holidays. After surveying 1,000 UK dads, the company released data uncovering what exactly brings a dad to evolve into an Airport Dad.

Apparently, it has largely to do with enjoying to—or better, feeling the need to—"keep everything under control." A whopping 69% of the dads surveyed said that they just tend to take charge when going on vacation. Some of them, though, do it because they secretly think that without them, the travel party wouldn't be able to help itself—a good 40% of dads included in the survey, in fact, said that they just become Airport Dads because they believe they're the "best person" to ensure everything rolls out smoothly and without any issues.

But being an Airport Dad isn't an easy job, and it often comes with a great deal of unnecessary stress. According to the study, 52% of dads said that, to make sure everything goes according to plan, they will start vacation prepping anywhere between one to three months (yes, months) ahead of their trip. It doesn't come to a surprise, then, that 91% of the dads surveyed claimed to be in need of a vacation again.

But hey, at the very least, at the end of the day Airport Dads are a happy breed—More than four in 10 (44%) said that doing all things Airport Dad a.k.a. planning a getaway actually fills them with excitement, and for some of them (43%) it just helps them feel organized.

And who said that being an Airport Dad can't be fun, too? Me, personally, I like to define myself as an Airport Football Dad. I'll paint you a picture, a quick sketch, if you will: Everybody in my travel group is checked in, past security, and with their travel documents in hand. Flight is on time, snacks are loaded, and we still have a couple of hours to kill before our flight. It's time for a reward. Look for the first airport sports bar you can find, head towards the counter, and you'll find me there, pint in hand, watching sports—surrounded by many other Airport Dads who are, understandably, just doing the same thing.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.