By Shannon Albert
I think when we book flights, we always imagine that we’ll arrive to our destination exactly on time and often make plans according to that schedule but we all know there’s a very strong possibility that’s not going to happen. Reduced flight schedules and oversold flights make flight delays even more common now than in the past. Dealing with these unexpected delays is often a matter of perspective. Here are some ideas for making your waiting time enjoyable.
Plan ahead of time
Although we may plan on entertaining ourselves for the duration of a flight, go ahead and over plan so that you can have plenty to keep you busy in the even of a delay. Make sure your phone charger is in your carry-on, bring an extra book, have extra cash available to use at the airport and pack some snacks. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, download the free GateGuru app which tells you what and where airport amenities are (info only available for airports in U.S. and Canada).
Be prepared to spend a little
With a little cash on hand, you can make use of many airport amenities that will fill your time nicely. Although many airports provide free wifi, some still cost money. For long layovers, it often makes sense to pay for this service since it is an expensive way to gain access to reading material, videos, friends and everything else the Internet has to offer.
You may also consider paying for lounge access while you wait. Lounges offer comfortable seating, beverages, snacks, TV, newspapers and often free wifi. Lounge passes are usually available to first class or business class passengers but daily passes can be obtained by others, often in the $30-45 price range. Use loungepass.com for discounts on lounge passes and this airport lounge guide for travelers who aren’t traveling first class.
Don’t be afraid to leave the airport
If you know the length of your layover, don’t be afraid to leave the airport for a bit to see the city. Many airports are located right on the subway line so it’s easy and inexpensive to get in and out of the airport. To get day trip ideas for your layover airport, do a Google search with the airport code plus “airport day trip.” Be sure to sign-up for text alerts on your phone so you can stay informed on flight changes.
Get your body moving
We sit on long flights, sit while waiting during our layovers and then sit on the next flight. We don’t have much choice on flights but at airports, it’s good to get up and move. Just going on a walk through the airport can be enough to get your blood flowing but some people might want a more involved workout. AirportGyms.com has listings of gyms in and near airports in the US and Canada.
Get some sleep
If the idea of laying on the ground in an airport while using your backpack as a pillow doesn’t appeal, many airports offer sleeping pods to rent, or “sleepboxes” as one designer calls them. These pods contain a bed, a TV, free wifi, a charging station for electronics as well as noise-cancellation. They can be rented in increments of 15 minutes to several hours. Although the sleep pods have mostly been located in airports outside of the United States, they have recently started to make an appearance in U.S. airports as well.
Any other tips for making the most of your airport time?
Originally posted @ Flightster.com
Shannon loves to share awesome, fun and hopefully useful info that she’s collected and to connect with other travel freaks. She loves the planning part of travel as much as the traveling itself. Shannon’s background includes working as a web developer and as a digital producer for an advertising agency. She lives in Texas with her husband, 2 kids and dog. New York City is her favorite city. Her blog is shannonalbert.com.