It doesn’t take a red, white, and blue suitcase and a T-shirt reading “God Bless the USA” to flag someone as an American — especially in a foreign airport. We Yanks tend to stick out. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing; we love it when people walk up to us when we’re traveling overseas and ask, “Are you American?”
But a lot of times, they don’t even have to ask. We say and do things in airports that out ourselves immediately as residents of the Land of the Free.
Here are the top 10 ways to spot Americans in an airport.
1. They make a beeline for the McDonald’s.
Fun game idea: go to an international airport and play “Count the Americans” (Flickr/Douglas Whitfield)
It’s a typically American trait to go through the time and expense of traveling to exotic foreign lands, only to make a run for the Golden Arches the second we clear customs. I’m guilty of this sometimes, too, but only because the first thing I want to do is see if they really call the Quarter Pounder a “Royale With Cheese.”
2. They’re in sweatpants.
If this American weren’t wearing sweatpants, he wouldn’t be able to sleep like this. But that would be a good thing. (Photo: Getty Images)
It’s as if Americans feel that if pilots and flight attendants wear uniforms when they fly, we should, too. And that uniform often takes the form of sweatpants. You don’t see sweatpants with “JUICY” stenciled across the butt too often anymore. But if you’re traveling overseas wearing these, you might as well have “AMERICAN” stitched on your behind.
3. They’re wearing baseball caps.
Another component of the American Flying Uniform.
4. They make fun of where they are…
“…and then I asked the baggage guy if he speaks English. And he said, ‘No!’” (Photo: Thinkstock)
“This place is a dump” or “What a backwards country” or “We don’t/do have this back home” or other kind of comment, wisecrack, or joke about the country you’re in is a stereotypical ugly-American stereotype that most U.S. world travelers try very hard to dispel. Don’t make our jobs harder.
5. …that is, if they even know where they are.
Check out what Twitter user @qirtaiba posted:
This is HONESTLY A REAL CONVERSATION going on next to me between Americans | | right now at Heathrow Airport. | | | | A: This is my first time in Europe. | | B: England isn't part of Europe. They didn't want to be. | | A: Then what are the main countries in Europe? Germany and Portugal? | | B: No, it's Germany and... Britain. | | A: But isn't this Britain? | | B: No, this is the United Kingdom. | | A: So where is Britain on the map? It must be right next to the United | | Kingdom? | | B: Yep.
6. They try to cut into the security line.
Cutting the security line because you’re running late is not appropriate in any country. (Photo: Corbis Images)
Trying to jump ahead in lines at security will get you labeled as the worst kind of me-first, always-on-the-go American.
7. They strip in the security line.
Different countries have different airport security procedures so check before you strip. (Photo: Corbis Images)
Not every country requires the virtual strip searches we endure in TSA lines in the States. But years of conditioning have us reaching for our coats, belts, and shoes the second we see a security agent standing in front of any sort of scanner, no matter if it’s required or not. No wonder the entire world thinks we Americans are a bunch of exhibitionists.
8. They call it a “security line.”
But “security queue” just doesn’t have that same ring to it.
9. They think that asking for things loudly is more effective…
She is not impressed by the volume of your voice (Photo: Getty Images)
…as if yelling, “WHICH WAY TO BAGGAGE CLAIM?!?” serves as a universal translator.
10. They’re drunk.
Try not to get sloppy drunk before your flight; our national reputation depends on it. (Photo: Getty Images)
“Americans just can’t hold their liquor” is a stereotype that we Americans continue to endure, despite our best efforts (not that we should stop trying).