11 ways to cure flight delay boredom in the airport

Sunset from a plane

NEWSFLASH: Being stuck in an airport is boring.

The customer experience in an airport is typically dire, even at the best of times.

Airports are simply a way to filter humans onto flights, and make a bit of money along the way with over-priced nonsense.

So airports are especially frustrating if you have a flight delay.

However, if you’re sat in an airport, anxiously gazing at the departure board for status on your flight, while realising just how little sleep you’ve had, you don’t need to reflect on the potentially nerve-racking and stressful situation you’re in. (Unless you just missed your connecting flight and there’s not another for a month or something.)

So here are my top tips to entertain yourself (minus masturbation) in any airport and for any length of time.

1. Go for a walk

Alright, so if you’re in a tiny airport (like Hoi An) it’s hardly going to be a long walk. But take a walk around. See what you can find. Maybe browse every item in a shop. Whatever it is, find some way to pass the time.

2. If delayed, talk to the airline about food and drink

Serious option: depending on your length of delay, you can claim food, drink and even a hotel from your airline.

At least in the EU.

Jo lunch to Bornholm
I cannot guarantee that the free food you receive will be as good as a ‘Jo Travel Picnic’ though.

In the EU, highlights of the rules are as follows (thanks to Air Passenger Rights for this):

  • In the event of long delays (two hours or more, depending on the distance of the flight), passengers must in every case be offered free meals and refreshments plus two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails;
  • If the time of departure is deferred until the next day, passengers must also be offered hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation;
  • When the delay is five hours or longer, passengers may opt for reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket together with, when relevant, a return flight to the first point of departure.

In any case, if you are majorly delayed, learn your rights and argue with the airline for free amenities to help you withstand the delay. And if all else fails, at least you wasted some time arguing with someone, right?

3. Check out the shops (if any)

Duty free is not actually that cheap. However, there may be some things to pass the time, or some last-minute shopping to do. Check the shops out.

Also, if you’re in a currency with a locked currency, sometimes there is no other option than to spend it.

4. Play cards

We ALWAYS bring a deck of cards just in case we are delayed.

I would almost say a deck of cards is vital for EVERY traveller. It’s a great way to pass the time, a great way to entertain throughout your trip nonetheless, and even a great way to meet strangers (we’ve had people ask to play us at particular card games).

A must have to pass the time, especially if the iPad has run out of battery.

5. Watch a film / browse the web

If there’s wifi, and you’ve still got battery, then simply browse the web. Catch up on news, social media, film – whatever you would do normally. Some airports (like Copenhagen) offer free wifi throughout.

6. Go to a pub

Could there have been a more British solution to a problem?

Seriously though, if it’s well-priced then give it a shot. There’s normally a pub in most mid to large-sized airports.

(Just don’t get too sloshed…)

Berliner Kindl beer can
Yeah, don’t go overboard on these…

7. Sudoku / crosswords

These types of books are available EVERYWHERE. Give them a shot if you’re desperate.

8. Read a book

Assuming books are sold in a language you can read, just buy a book. Yeah, it’s not always cheap to buy a book but, if you are incredibly delayed, it’s not the worst investment.

9. Read the newspaper

Again, newspapers are typically available in some form. Some airports (Gatwick, for example) hand them out for free ahead of the departure gates.

Old plane Budapest
Yeah, well at least your plane should be going somewhere, unlike this one.

10. Sleep

Is there a better way to pass time?

Sleeping in an airport is not easy and, without an alarm, is certainly NOT advised.

But if you’ve no other choice than to lay your head down for a few hours, then do so. Here are some top tips to sleeping in an airport.

11. Chat with family or friends

If wifi is available, you could call family, friends or colleagues at very reasonable prices through WhatsApp, Facebook, or Skype. You’re just sitting wasting time, so why not spend it wisely?

What are your top tips to passing the time in an airport?

Let us know in the comments. And follow us on Facebook for more 🙂

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