8 suggestions for spending time while stuck in an airport

Written by admin on December 13, 2012 – 5:47 pm -

Who wants to be stuck in an airport for hour after hour? But, stuff happens. “How do you make the best of it?”

Whether in transit or dealing with a plane that has been delayed, what do you do if you’re forced to spend more than a few hours in an airport?

When waiting for a plane that’s sitting on the tarmac, which might be ready to go at a few minutes notice, you’re really at the mercy of the airline gods. That’s when you have to make the best of a bad situation, hope you have a good book, an I Pad or an equivalent. If you’re traveling with a computer, you can always catch up or get ahead on your work. Then, there are the projects you’ve been contemplating but haven’t had the time upon which to concentrate.

It goes without saying that these tips don’t work so well when traveling with young children. Then you’re forced to grin and bear it and think of ingenious ways to keep them amused. Plan on getting your exercise chasing after your charges. That’s when you give thanks for airports with playgrounds.

But, if you have a long layover between flights, here are some suggestions gathered from seasoned travelers. Some travelers even plan longer-than-normal layovers to take advantage of these options.

Head into town — Going into town can be chancy unless it’s a layover that’s very long or one you’ve planned so you can see a specific destination that’s been on your must-see list.

Shop — Some travelers use the airport as a shopping opportunity to buy gifts for their families. One person said he found a shop in the Seattle airport and bought a mug and serving plate made by a local potter. His purchases were shipped so he didn’t have to keep track of them for eight hours and the store made sure they arrived home in one piece.

Many international airports can be great shopping opportunities. Anyone who has been in the Dubai Airport knows that transit passengers can shop until they drop and absorb different cultures and sample foods from around the world.

Find a comfortable, quiet nest — Some head for the nearest bar or place of worship, while many frequent flyers recognize the advantage of an airline club – many of which you can access by buying a day pass.

Airport hotels — An airport hotel offers a change of pace and venue and perhaps a more relaxed meal. People who frequently fly on business will often arrange meetings while they’re waiting. When you see people on Skype, they may not be talking to their loved ones. They may be racking up billable hours.

Naps, art and chores — Large airports with day rooms where you can grab a nap can be godsends for the weary traveler. Some airports have excellent art installations, but you’ll have to look for them. An increasing number of large airports have places when you can get a massage, have you hair done and you get the drift.

Blame your travel planner? One person responded that if you have a six-hour layover, you should get a new travel agent. Then Bjorn Nilsen, a Procurement Representative who’s based in Kansas City admitted, “Actually, I’ve had a few of these. 
I had a 10-hour layover between flights and different airports in Amman, Jordan. I did some business with my travel agent there and following that, I was treated to a great tour of the city, local foods, and the best Arabic coffee I ever had! The time simply flew.”

In Dubai, an 8 hour lay-over resulted in a complimentary hotel room and a much needed nap!” 

Nilsen purposely booked a long layover in Frankfurt and was able to convince his cousin to come to the airport and spend the time with him. They had a wonderful meal together and used the time to catch up on too many years spent apart and out of touch.

Recharge yourself and your contraptions — One thing you should forget to do is factor in time for exercising, even if it’s only doing deep breathing and stretches. Don’t miss the opportunity to recharge laptop/portable DVD player batteries.

People watch — You’ll find no better place. Some passengers curl up on an empty chair and simply veg out and try not to become stressed.

Strike up a conversation — Though, this may feel strange to some, who knows, you may actually meet fellow travelers who will become friend. Stranger things have been known to happen.

Feel free to add your suggestions as to how to make the time fly by.


Posted in Around the World, Consumer Traveler |