As travelers, we live in a world where nothing can be said to be certain except for death, taxes, and airport delays. And indeed, with upwards of 509,000 flight delays recorded globally each MONTH, and 29,000 + cancellations, even those who travel infrequently are likely to run into some form of delay.
From missed connections and unexplained cancellations, to rampant delays, sometimes those three letter airport codes make us want to use some four letter words.
But since we can’t avoid them (though you can try to sidestep the worst airports) at least we can travel prepared. The following are 5 ways you can kill time during insufferable flight delays.
How to Kill Time During Airport Delays
While there have been many advances in technology to keep boredom at bay, one of best ways to keep entertained has been around for ages. It’s reading.
Whether you travel with a good book, keep a library on your Kindle, or pick up a trashy magazine from the airport news-agency, reading material is a great way to pass time.
Becoming engrossed in a novel, a crossword puzzle, or even a Wikipedia page will help distract you from the fact that you’re sitting in an airport delayed.
If you have lounge access, you’ll probably find that there are free magazine stands where you can pick up some reading material without having to shell out overpriced airport rates.
If you feel as though your muscles are starting to waste away, why not get some exercise in! Many airports these days have fitness centers, yoga rooms, and walking tracks, and airport hotels usually allow public day passes for use of their gym.
If you’re stuck at an airport without exercise facilities, or don’t have appropriate clothes, you can still burn calories with a couple of hot laps around the terminal (though don’t run unless you want to be tackled by security!).
Dallas Fort Worth actually has a walking track within their terminal for this purpose. But if you don’t mind looking a bit silly, find a seating bench for sets of reverse crunches and pushups.
Doing lunges on the moving walkway is another great exercise you can do in airports – it’s essentially a slow paced treadmill. Otherwise, if you pack a resistance band in your carryon for impromptu strength training and stretching.
Relax in a Lounge
Image: Paul hood (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
A great way to use your spare time is to relax in a lounge. Most airline lounges these days have comfortable seating, work stations, and plenty of free food and beverages, with an unlimited supply of champagne to melt away any stress or anxiety you’re felling from your cancellation or delay.
Just don’t become so relaxed or libated that you miss your rescheduled boarding time!!
All decent lounges offer a diverse range of in-house services as well, so you may also have the option to pamper yourself with massage chairs or spa treatments; not all treatments are free, so be prepared with some extra cash.
Even if you don’t have frequent flier status with any airlines, you can gain lounge access through programs like Priority Pass, which offer up a network of 1200 airport lounges worldwide, and a choice of three membership plans to suit your particular traveling needs.
And relax knowing that you can often pursue delayed flight compensation.
Get Some Work Done
If you’re forced to sit somewhere for hours with no place to go, you may as well make it work for you and get some work done! That way when you do arrive in your destination, you’ll have free time having already knocked off your emails, edited photos, whatever you’ve been putting off that you need to do.
All airports are equip with power stations these days (though take an adapter with you if you’re traveling internationally), and some will even have work stations set up throughout. Or, buy yourself a coffee and sit down at a cafe.
Just remember that when connecting via public WiFi at an airport, it’s always important to use a VPN. Most airport WiFi around the world are public, open networks, which aren’t safe, and allow anyone else using them to access your information.
For someone who knows what they’re doing they can see data like your usernames, passwords, credit card numbers etc. The way you get around this is by installing a VPN on your computer or phone. This allows you to encrypt your traffic and keep everything private.
Fly the Plane Yourself
OK, this isn’t a viable option for 99.9% of travelers, but we couldn’t help but include it after a story broke this week about an off duty pilot on vacation with his family, who saved an entire flight by offering to fly the plane himself!
Most airports these days offer free WiFi and plenty of power supplies, so if you’re bored and delayed, pick up your smart phone, tablet or laptop and play a game.
Whether you occupy yourself with tetris, pacman, or online casino games from MrGreen, like reading, you’ll find this a welcome distraction from the fact that you’ve been stuck in an airport all day.
Or, if you can’t connect to online, consider more classic games you can enjoy at the airport, like I-Spy, 20 Questions, and the like. If you’re traveling solo you can always pick up a newspaper or magazine from the airport newsagency for crosswords or other puzzles.