The key insights we found include:
We conducted five additional interviews specifically on people’s social interactions at the airport through convenience sampling by asking peers who frequently traveled. We wanted to keep the interviews conversational and casual, so we asked them to share a recent layover experience where they had a social interaction.
Proximity - conversations may happen at the gate, restaurant, or wherever the travelers are due to the density of people at an airport
Other initiate - travelers, especially those who tend to be more introverted, prefer to engage in conversation only if others start it first
Similar interests - there needs to be some common ground in order for a conversation to take off or be memorable
Open to connect - most travelers won’t specifically seek out social interactions at an airport, but said they would be open to the idea of connecting with other travelers
Knowledge sharing - conversation topics usually included travel experiences, and career interests
Beyond the airport - conversations also commonly occurred on the plane itself when sitting next to each other, sometimes even exchanging contacts (however, never really followed up with each other)
Safety - people usually are always concerned with safety, but we wanted to note in several of our interviews, they thought safety was not a particular issue because everyone had already passed through the security check
Everything still depends - interest in social interactions heavily dependent on mood, energy levels, physical appearance, airport layout etc.