Behaviour expert reveals why people queue in airports before they have to

A behaviour expert says passengers start forming lines to board a plane before the gate has opened.
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A behaviour expert says passengers start forming lines to board a plane before the gate has opened.

Unless you've scored a free upgrade to first class, flying isn't a pleasant experience to say the least.

Cramped in a pressurised cabin for hours on end isn't anyone's idea of fun. So why do people rush to board the plane before the gate has even opened?

According to behaviour expert, Judi James, there's a certain psychology behind the airport queue phenomenon.

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"The psychology of queueing is contagious - anywhere we see a queue, we feel impelled to join," James tells the Mail Online Travel.

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People who wait until the last minute are confident and have a first-class mentality.
BENOIT TESSIER

People who wait until the last minute are confident and have a first-class mentality.

"The moment we see someone edging to the front of anything, even though your logical brain tells you there will be no difference between queueing now or waiting, the fear of missing out takes over."

FOMO (fear of missing out) is not the only reason people feel compelled to join a queue, it can be attributed to people's competitive nature.

"Even though we know that a desire to be at the front is just the way some people are, there is also a burning desire in most of us to 'Beat The Cheat'," James says.

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"This is a very alpha thing - we feel as if them being in front or somehow managing to beat the system also diminishes us and makes us the secondary alpha."

Other contributing factors are passengers' heightened sense of anxiety and humans' territorial nature.

"One of the most common reasons people give for queuing early is the lack of overhead luggage space on some flights."

But what about those people who wait until the last minute? Are they lazy or just savvy travellers?

"Those who wait until the last moment to get on the plane have a first 500

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