Airport Layovers: A Guide to Preventing Boredom

Oh, the dreaded layover. It’s a necessary part of flying for most of us, and yet we still find ourselves sitting in an uncomfortable concourse chair, absolutely bored out of our minds.

No longer! Make time fly by (pun intended) during your next layover by managing your time.

Less Than 30 Minutes to Boarding

When there’s less than half an hour until boarding, head to your departure gate. Music is OK, so long as
you listen to it quietly enough that you can hear any pertinent announcements. Take this time to paw through
your carry-on bag and remove any trash, fully read magazines or anything of that sort. Re-arrange the contents
so you can get to anything you’ll need during the next flight without completely unpacking that bag in your
tiny airplane seat. Make sure your ticket is readily accessible and you know what boarding group to listen for.

Once you’ve dealt with all the pre-flight business — which can take mere seconds for some travelers or
many minutes for others — try to relax a little bit. Play a few rounds of Jewel Quest, fill out a KENKEN puzzle or read the next few pages of People Magazine. The key to successful time wasting in the pre-boarding phase is multi-tasking: being ready to jump in line to board at any moment while, simultaneously, carrying out a small task. You can totally do it. Time will whizz right by.

30 to 90 Minutes to Boarding

Do your devices need charging at all? If so, this is the time to do it but don’t worry about staying near your gate because you’ll be bored senseless. Get up and moving for a little while. Find a restaurant and have a meal or grab a comfortable chair at a Starbucks and get plugged in. Watch a movie or read a book. Get comfortable while you’re plugged in and enjoy the (relative) peace and quiet.

If you don’t need to be plugged in, go ahead and get some exercise. Chances are you’ll be spending hours
upon hours sitting on a traveling day, so get your blood flowing and see the sights at the airport. Many airports, at least the major ones, have some really cool architectural details you can scope out. Detroit (DTW) and Chicago’s O’Hare airport (ORD) both have amazing light tunnels connecting terminals. They are certainly worth a short trip on foot, or on people movers. Some airports have small museums of some kind or shops you can explore.

90+ Minutes to Boarding

If you have more than an hour and a half before you board, it’s going to feel like a long layover.
If you have an unexpectedly long layover due to a delay, check in with a gate attendant to be sure you
can’t make a different connection and to see if the airline is offering any sort of concessions or compensation. While it’s rare to get any sort of perks for a delay that’s only a few hours, it never hurts to politely approach and inquire. Gate agents rarely respond well to aggressive behavior, so be polite and remember: they are people too!

Long layovers are good times for concourse naps. If you’re going to try this (rather advanced) maneuver, you need to find a small patch of real estate or check to see if there is an airport napping room where you won’t be in the way of foot traffic. Use your carry-on as a pillow so no one can get into it without waking you. Set an alarm for at least 30 minutes prior to your boarding time so you can get to the
gate on time.

Hopefully, next time you’re between flights these tips will help make your travel time feel shorter. Do you
have any tips for making time fly at the airport? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

Authored By: Paula Eastmann   Though she misses her husband, Paula is happy to help other military wives to keep orderly homes that are inviting and easy to keep. She loves sharing military mom tips with other wives and moms.

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