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Do You Have Airport Dad Vibes? A Checklist

TikTok is obsessed with airport dads and why they're good partners! Learn about the airport dad trend and if you have the vibes.
Do You Have Airport Dad Vibes? A Checklist
Updated: October 13, 2023
Table of contents

You’ve heard of “dad bods”, the corny “dad jokes” and if you were online in early 2021, you may even remember the #BeanDad phenomenon.

But do you know about the “Airport Dad” trend that’s all over TikTok?

Something about airports and flying just makes people intense

From hitting the road at 5 a.m. to get to the airport early to measuring your carry-on multiple times so it doesn’t get rejected at check-in to rushing to your gate – only for your plane to be delayed – air travel can be stressful.

And for Airport Dads, traveling as a family is something that needs to be organized and efficient, otherwise, the family vacation descends into total chaos. 

Even with all these technological advancements that have completely changed the way we travel, trending TikTok videos are hilariously calling out intense #airportdads that still think you need to get to the airport five hours early and carry a folder of paper documents to present to every member of security. 

Related: When Are Babies Old Enough to Fly on Planes?

This entertaining viral trend is picking up steam worldwide on social media, with many speculating who the Airport Dad is in their family. (Sometimes it might be Mom too!) 

What is An Airport Dad?

@p.jonesy Our flight was at 6, this man had us in the kitchen at 1 😀😀 #airportdad #fyp ♬ The Home Depot Beat - The Home Depot


While family holidays and getaways are supposed to help you get rid of the stress in your life, getting there is often an anxiety-inducing process. This is where Airport Dad mode takes over and ensures the travel plan is executed flawlessly. 

But an Airport Dad doesn’t actually have to be a dad. This endearing term refers to anyone who takes charge of the travel group and exhibits intense travel behavior.

From college roommates to mothers to siblings, everyone has an Airport Dad in their life who doesn’t trust anyone else to handle the travel plans and incessantly checks that the plane is going to be there when it said it would be there. 

Why is Airport Dad Trending On TikTok?

After a few people posted amusing TikToks showing their Airport Dad taking charge during a family trip, the hashtag blew up with videos showing up on everyone’s For You Page (FYP).

@aimee_harrisonn Airport Neil is my favourite Neil 😭 #fyp #OurHouse2021 #getmefamous #dad #traveldad ♬ The Home Depot Beat - The Home Depot


It turns out that we all have more in common than we thought — an Airport Dad. This phenomenon is actually so popular that travel company Jet2holidays released a survey in June 2023 where they asked 1,000 UK dads about how they became an Airport Dad. 

The survey found that Airport Dad behavior is shockingly more common than you may think! According to the responses: 

  • 69% of dads take charge at the airport to keep everything under control. 
  • 40% believe they’re the best person to ensure there aren’t any issues.
  • 43% of dads feel that taking on this leadership role at the airport helps them feel organized.

Some fathers surveyed admitted that they think family traveling wouldn’t go smoothly without them. But we can’t be too mad at our Airport Dad, whoever they may be. It’s not an easy job. Jet2holidays researchers reported that: 

  • 52% of dads start prepping up to three months in advance of their flight.
  • 91% say they are in need of a vacation after planning their vacation.
  • 44% said that becoming the Airport Dad fills them with excitement.

Key Characteristics of an Airport Dad 

With the popularity of this hilarious trend, Heathrow Airport conducted research to determine what characteristics define an Airport Dad. They found that 35% of British people think the top trait of Airport Dads is holding onto everyone’s passports while 34% say the most common trait is constantly checking the time. 

Should You Date an Airport Dad?

With the popularity of the Airport Dad who takes care of all the family members to ensure everyone else can have a stress-free trip, some are encouraging women to date and settle down with someone capable of being an Airport Dad. 

Flight attendant Sharmy Aldama made a popular TikTok video explaining how Airport Boyfriends eventually become responsible, family-oriented Airport Dads. After seeing hundreds of couples who fall into this entertaining trope, she’s pretty much an expert on the subject. 

Aldama explains in the video, "The Airport Dad sees the drink cart coming down the aisle and asks [for] his wife's order or his girlfriend's order before the cart even gets there. If she's asleep, he doesn't wake her up for her order. He just gets what she usually drinks." 

She frequently sees couples board the plane where the boyfriend is carrying the bags or looking up the boarding pass on their phone so the woman doesn’t have to worry about anything.

This flight attendant noted that Airport Boyfriends will turn into dads who become active and participating parents who take their children to the bathroom, watch “Bluey” on the iPad and generally just help mothers with the mental load.

@s.harmyy #stitch with @YaYa We should rename the #AirportDad a Travel Dad because they dont stop until the family is in that hotel room #flightattendant #flightattendanttiktok #airport ♬ original sound - Sharmy

Checklist: Are You an Airport Dad?

Do you consider yourself the responsible one in your family? If so, you could be an Airport Dad. Here’s a quick checklist to determine who the #airportdad is in your life.

  • An Airport Dad checks that everyone is packed and has their luggage in the hallway the night before.
  • An Airport Dad weighs all the luggage the night before with his personal luggage scale.
  • An Airport Dad creates and goes over the itinerary with everyone.
  • An Airport Dad plans to leave for the airport at least four hours before the flight leaves.
  • An Airport Dad single-handedly moves everyone’s luggage onto the curb and into the car (no one else is strong enough or responsible enough to touch the luggage).
  • If the taxi or Uber is one minute late, an Airport Dad says, “Good thing I scheduled in extra time.”
  • An Airport Dad must speed walk through the entire airport while constantly reminding everyone to stay together.
  • An Airport Dad brings a folder with paper documents of travel information, boarding passes, etc. You know, just in case all the phones or Wi-Fi stops working in the entire airport.
  • After making it through security, an Airport must head straight for the gate before doing anything else to make sure it’s still there.
  • An Airport Dad holds on to everyone’s passports, hands them out before check-in and promptly collects them again because no one else can be trusted.
  • An Airport Dad continually checks that he has all the passports and documents. 
  • An Airport Dad complains about the prices of airport food but also reminds everyone to eat so they’re not hungry on the plane.
  • An Airport Dad sits in front of the window watching planes come and go saying, “I think this one is ours.”
  • An Airport Dad continually checks the boarding passes and that the plane is on time.
  • An Airport Dad gets in the boarding line as soon as the doors open, even if your boarding group hasn’t been called yet. 
  • An Airport Dad fills out all of the travel documents for everyone.

If you find yourself doing most of these things, sorry to break it to you, but you’re officially an Airport Dad. 

Sources +

Heathrow Media Centre. (2023). Heathrow welcomes more passengers than any other UK airport in 2019. Retrieved from
International Airport Review. (2023, August 16). Heathrow recruits TV personality Danni Brooke to de-stress ‘airport dads’.

National Air And Space Museum. The Evolution of the Commercial Flying Experience.



Bre Richey

About Bre

Breanna is an experienced journalist and writer whose work has been featured in Chicago Tribune… Read more

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