Waiting for a flight that has been delayed is certainly one of the most tedious aspects of travel. With over 20 percent of flights delayed or canceled every day, passengers frequently find themselves twiddling their thumbs once they get to the airport.
Thankfully, there are plenty of things to keep passengers occupied at most airports. Many of these activities involve eating, drinking, and shopping. However, there are also a number of free things that can help while away the time before boarding a plan. Here are a few worth trying:
Check Out the Art
Many U.S. and international airports offer rotating schedules of art, history, and cultural exhibitions that are as notable as any to be found in local museums. When you have some time to kill, an exhibit within your terminal or elsewhere in the airport can be a great way to get cultured. Not sure where to find the art? Ask the representative at the airport information desk. They will most likely have the details.
Yes, the airport is kind of like an obstacle course. Why not take advantage of the stairs, moving sidewalk, and wide open expanses to burn a few calories. Try power walking, lunges, squats, and stretching. And, if you’re looking for exercise equipment, some airports even have gyms onsite if you have a few extra dollars to spare.
Make Phone Calls
Have you been meaning to catch up with your cousin who left you a message weeks ago? Do you have an old college buddy who you’ve been meaning to ring? Use the free time to make all of those non-urgent calls. Don’t want to use your mobile phone minutes? If you have a Mobile Phone with data service or your laptop, you can make free or cheap calls using an internet phone service like S-unno. Most airports have outlets and WiFi so that you can dial from anywhere in the terminal.
Make Travel Plans
With some free minutes, you may be able to snag a good deal on your next vacation or business trip. Head over to the ticket counter and ask to speak to someone about travel planning. There’s usually someone available who can provide you with insight on discount tickets, package deals, and redeeming frequent flier points.
Whether you’re into glancing at the latest gossip in the current issue of People or are trying to work your way through the classics of literature, a flight delay is a perfect opportunity to unwind and read. Need a good book? There are many services online that offer free downloads of books. Or, simply glide by the food court or gate waiting area. You’ll certainly find a newspaper or two left by fellow fliers.
You rushed to the airport, dropped off your rental car, navigated through the check-in line, and managed to get through the security check unscathed. Now, you’ve found out that your flight has been delayed for hours. It’s time to take a deep breath or two and unwind from the everyday chaos of the airport. Sit calmly, shut your eyes, tune out the noise, and give yourself 15 minutes to collect your thoughts and regroup before you begin your tirade on the airline’s customer service team.
Do you have a pen and some paper or your laptop? Use the time to write out the ideas that have been swirling through your head. Maybe, you have the concepts for a new opportunity, a novel, or a letter to someone special. Many an idea, business, or story has been crafted in an airport waiting area.
Make a New Friend
You never know who you might meet in an airport. Countless friendships, romances, and business relationships have started between two people simply waiting to board a flight. Take note of what others are reading, working on, or doing. You might pick up on some helpful clues on who you may want to befriend.
Need a little spiritual solace? Most big airports have interfaith chapels. These sanctuaries are most visible during times of crisis, such as after a plane crash, but they’re helpful for nervous fliers needing a little extra reassurance or anyone wanting a place to reconnect with their spirituality.
There are few people watching venues as interesting as an airport. You’ll see everything from stressed out parents juggling kids and luggage to foreign backpackers using the airport as a camping ground. If you watch long enough, you’ll be sure to witness some interesting scenes worth sharing once you get to your destination.