I’m an ex-airport worker – what I could instantly tell by your airport style | The Sun

WHEN we go on holiday we all like to pack our best outfits so we can dress to impress while away – but how much thought do you put into your travelling gear?

Well, it turns out what you turn up to the airport in can reveal a lot about you to the staff – but not necessarily what class you're flying in.

Now CEO of Ricco Events and PR Sonya Dhillon, 33, from West London, previously worked in airport security for five years, before working for Virgin Atlantic as a customer service agent.

Here she shares what it was like working at one of the UK's busiest airports, her encounters with celebrities, and what she could instantly tell about travellers just by looking at them…

Flying high

Sonya's customer-facing role meant she saw hundreds of travellers every day.

She says: "As a customer service agent I checked passengers in before security, and at the gates pre-boarding whilst ensuring all the necessary documents were correct. 

"I loved meeting new people and my colleagues, but didn't like the shift work and early starts.


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"Getting through security was hit and miss, purely depending on peak season and times.

"School holidays were always busy, but security were always good at monitoring this & ensuring they had enough lanes open to manage the numbers."

'It was like they were auditioning for Towie!'

Over the years, Sonya became an expert at being able to tell a lot about a person by appearance.

She says: "If you're a people watcher then it was brilliant.

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Travellers on their way to Dubai often looked like they were "auditioning for Towie"Credit: Instagram/@ hannahvoyan

"It would often amaze me at how many people come in and out of the country daily.

"You'd always know a Dubai passenger a mile off – it was almost as though they were auditioning for Towie!"

However, when it came to who was travelling first class or economy, it was less clear-cut.

Sonya says: "It was certainly a good mix in each class.

"You'd always spot a colourful Tripp suitcase a mile off, and then there was always a tonne of designer rip offs too! 

"You'd have some dressed head-to-toe in designer and then others in unbranded shorts, t-shirts and flip flops with a backpack.

"Now more than ever, I reckon it's impossible to tell based on appearances."

Star sightings

Another benefit of working in an airport were the celebrity sightings.

Sonya says: "Throughout my years in the airport I've had the honour of meeting many celebrities.

"From royals such as Prince William and Kate, to Mike Tyson, Danny DeVito, Winnie Harlow, Gigi Hadid…

"And a number of footballers – although I'm clearly not a big footie fan or I'd remember their names!"

Same rule for everyone

As you would expect, working in an airport is not all 'plane' sailing.

Strict security was a priority, even for staff.

Sonya says: "The liquid rule applies for staff entering airside.

"That even included our lunch, so no soup or yoghurt was making it past security if it was over 100ml."

Tricky customer

As with any role dealing with customers, Sonya encountered a real mix of personalities.

She says: "No day was the same; each came with new challenges, new passengers and new stories – good and bad.

"Generally customers were nice, but you'd get the odd moody or rude one.

"But that being said, you never know someone's reason for travel or what they are going through – especially those who are nervous flyers."

'I knew their bag was overweight!'

There's also one question Sonya would be asked all the time – and yes, it really is THAT obvious if you've tried this in the past.

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She says: "The constant request from everyone was wanting a "free upgrade".

"Or some would compliment you when they approached your desk – but you immediately knew that meant that their bag is overweight or they wanted something!"

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