Now that we’re getting into the travel season of weather delays and overbooked flights, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending more time than you bargained for at the airport in the coming months. Between a delayed flight, agreeing to get bumped and the gods of air travel relegating you to another missed connection (jerkfaces!), there are many reasons you might have to spend a little extra time on the ground. Airport terminals don’t have to be a holding tank for the bored and annoyed though — here are some of the best ways to make your airport sit-in just a little bit more tolerable.
Get out of the airport
If you’ve got more than a few hours to spare, see if you can leave the airport. You’ll need to ensure you have a boarding pass to get back in through security once you return. Do your best to blend in and hop on one of the free hotel shuttles. Spend some time at the hotel’s spa or pool before making your return.
Call the airline rather than getting in line
If your flight has been flat-out cancelled once you’re already at the gate (breathe, it happens), avoid the crush of angry travellers berating the gate agents and get on the phone to the airline’s reservation centre STAT. They can help you book a replacement flight, process your refund or help put you up until the next flight is available. Make sure to ask about compensation for the inconvenience!
Buy a lounge pass
If you’re not one of the lucky high-ranking loyalty members with free lounge access for life, a flight delay can be an ideal time to splurge on a lounge pass. Inside those sliding glass doors you’ll likely find a buffet, free booze and comfy chairs, and a nice view of the planes that are actually leaving on time. The more time you have to spare, the more worthwhile this option is.
Pack a portable battery pack
It’s a good idea to always travel with a fully loaded portable battery pack, which can be a lifesaver during a flight delay in an airport without accessible electrical outlets. Your battery pack can squeeze more life out of your phone, tablet or laptop as you wait.
Tap into the geniuses on Foursquare or Yelp
Find airport-specific tips and hacks with apps like Foursquare or Yelp, where you might discover things like hidden troves of electrical outlets, the best spots for a decent WiFi connection or even a secret dark spot to have a nap. Want a bonus tip? Turn back the clock on your computer for more free WiFi time.
Up your people-watching game
Basic people watching is for amateurs. In an airport, there’s no shortage of people to watch, so go above and beyond and write out background stories about them in your head or come up with bizarre situations and script how each of them would react, action-movie style. Just keep your facial expressions subdued as you piece together your imaginary airport heist.
Find a date on Tinder
Love doesn’t waste time. If you’re single, use Tinder’s geography-based features to find fellow love-seekers in the airport. If you’re both facing a flight delay, head on over to the pub for an impromptu date. If you hit it off, you’ve got a great story to tell at your wedding. If you don’t, well, maybe there’s an earlier flight you can get on?
Become the Sherlock of sleep spots
Sleeping is a wonderful way to pass time, but it isn’t all that easy to do with the constant PA announcements and in seats bound by armrests. But that just means you’ve got yourself a challenge to accept. Seek out the airport’s best sleeping spots, whether that’s an unused gate (amateur), or a secret darkened alcove next to the prayer room (total pro). Cheat a bit and get tips ahead of time at sleepinginairports.net.