K-pop Idols in Airports: 3 Ways to Prevent Chaos

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There are many things in this world that terrify me. Cockroaches, for example. Assignments that I have forgotten to do that are due in 20 minutes time. Watching horror movies in the middle of the night.

Of these things, however, there are few that give me nightmares more than airport fancams.

This short clip once sparked controversy: Super Junior’s Donghae can be clearly heard swearing in frustration. However, whether you think it was rude for him to do so, it’s easy to see why he lost his temper.

Imagine being jet-lagged and sore, struggling to keep track of all your luggage as well as the rest of your group, and then being shoved around and suffocated by hordes of screaming people you don’t know. Imagine being thrown into a pool of hungry piranhas. Personally, I’d choose the piranhas.

If you are ever lucky enough to have your favourite idols visit your country, I’m sure you would love to give them a warm welcome at the airport. I’m also sure many artists appreciate the gesture and are grateful for such enthusiastic support. However, too many times it gets out of hand. As a fandom, let’s think about a few things that need to change.


BAP’s staff took all measures to keep the group safe. Source: @snw_aom

1. Remember: it’s an airport, not a concert hall

Airports are very public and very busy places. Staff are trying to do their jobs, travellers are trying to catch flights, and family and friends are trying to do pick-ups, drop-offs and meet-ups.

You would probably have a much more enjoyable experience if you were to see your favourite band at a concert – if you’re not desperate, just save yourself the time and energy and stay home.

But if you insist on being there for their arrival, don’t be a nuisance. Make sure everyone else is still able to get to where they need to be. Airports are difficult enough to navigate as they are – having mobs of fans screaming, running around, and blocking your way certainly does not make it any easier.

2. Don’t push!

It’s inevitable that you will get shoved around when it’s crowded. But when that crowd is also converging upon the people who are walking out of the departure gate, you are not going to be able to fight that rush. In the confusion, accidents happen. Somebody can – and will – get hurt.

kai airport

EXO’s Kai was pushed by fans at Incheon Airport, and needed help to walk out. Picture: K’aura

The last thing you want to do is injure the artists, but they aren’t the only ones who are at risk. For your own and the safety of other fans, passengers, managers, security and other staff, keep the jostling to a minimum.

3. Keep your hands to yourselves

This goes for all situations in which you’re, OMG, lucky enough to be breathing the same air as your idols. However, since it gets a little more out-of-control here, it’s particularly important at airports.

Many fans dream of getting up close to their bias, and if you have the guts to swim through those airport masses, you might manage to. But would you be comfortable with having a complete stranger grab you by the arm and pull you close? Worse still, what if they put their hands on your hair, back or even other parts of your body?

krystal airpor

f(x)’s Krystal was shocked and uncomfortable when a fan suddenly embraced her from behind. Picture: The Klassic

Don’t treat idols in any way that you would not want to be treated, especially by somebody you don’t know. It may seem like an innocent hug, but it’s still an invasion of personal space.

Meeting K-pop celebrities at the airport is never going to be ideal – it is always going to cause inconvenience in one way or another. Nonetheless, if we just set a few boundaries, it might not have to be so distressing.


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