Most people you fly with are unmemorable. They sit down, strap in and get on with whatever it is they do to pass the hours in the air. Unless they become overly drunk or aggressive — which I have read about but never seen — there is no reason to think of them again. I’m sure they feel the same about me. But as you fly, you begin to notice common quirks and behaviour that some passengers engage in. These groups make up flying’s mini-tribes. Here are some I have noticed. 1. Mr IT Department This is the passenger who, the instant the seatbelt sign pings off, pulls down his table and sets out his stall. A laptop, a tablet to plug into the laptop, a phone, or even two, to plug into those, and then a set of wireless headphones clamped on his ears, the blue light flashing. He now goes about his task with calm purposefulness: a click here, a shift of handset there. What is he doing with all this computing power? Is he monitoring the situation below, ready to step in from 35,000ft if the Pen...

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