Greetings and goodbyes at airports are incredibly personal and emotional experiences. As the New Year has arrived, I have reflected on all my heartfelt hellos and goodbyes in the last year.

It seems that the industry-driven airport experience is fueled by the speed of technology and the bottom line of the businesses that operate within it. It’s all about getting travelers in and out fast. To many of us, the airport seems cold and anonymous, an unfriendly “non-space” that we’d like to spend as little time in as possible, thank you very much.

But some of our most important moments happen in airports when we meet or part from loved ones on journeys long or short. Some of these moments can be life-changing.

Life-changing moments at airports

Think of all these moments:

Soldiers coming home meet their newborns for the first time after a long deployment.

People are saying goodbye to their elderly parents, sometimes for the last time.

Old friends reuniting in new places and new loves separating for the first time.

And yet, not much in the design of most airport experiences seems to acknowledge these precious moments. One rare example of acknowledgment is the Hug Rug at Winnipeg Airport:

Airports are a fundamentally human place, coursing with life every day. Airport spaces need to consider each as a human being, not a number. The airport acts as a gateway to significant changes and new possibilities in people’s lives.

The social and emotional significance of airports

Airports are where we unite with family and friends, whether from a neighboring state or from across the world. Where we must leave beloved family and friends behind; where we arrive to celebrate births and marriages, and to mourn deaths.

An airport is a place where people break up. It happened to me, and we wrote about it too.

The airport is a profoundly social space where emotions are openly displayed.

So in the spirit of celebrating the human side of airports, I gathered some of my favorite images of greetings and goodbyes at airports in 2018.

The images are full of emotionally charged expressions of joy, excitement, and gratitude. I hope they move you and inspire you to travel to reconnect with those you love or to discover new connections around the world.

Emotional greetings and goodbyes at airports in 2018

 

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A post shared by Malta International Airport (@maltairport) on

 

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A post shared by Aeropuerto de Carrasco (@aeropuerto_de_carrasco) on

 

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A post shared by Melbourne Airport Official (@melbourneairportau) on

 

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A post shared by Savanna Powers (@powers.2) on

 

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A post shared by Wroclaw Airport (@wroclawairport) on

We want to hear what you think! Have you experienced an emotional hello or goodbye at an airport recently? Tell us your story! Leave a comment below with your story for a chance to be featured.

Cristina Alcivar

Founder and Editor of Vane Airport Magazine. Passionate about everything well-being, love travel, the ocean and the sun.

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