Seven Tips to Kill Time at Airports

Aircraft Parked at Departure Gate

Source

Using Airports for Scheduled Departures

During the past 12 years, I have spent a lot of time in airport terminals waiting for both domestic and international flights. Due to concerns about long check-in lines, passing through immigration, and getting through security screening lines, I have usually arrived at airports at least two and one-half to three hours prior to my international departures. Nevertheless, by arriving at airports early enough, I still have time to kill before boarding my flights.

In this article, I suggest seven tips which I have used to successfully kill time at airports while waiting for scheduled flights.

A Hong Kong Airport Restaurant

Source

Eating and Drinking

It never fails that most of my flights depart during mealtime. Whenever I fly from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to the United States, departure time is at six or seven o'clock in the morning. For many domestic departures in Thailand, my flights leave around noon or six or seven in the evening.

In satisfying my hunger, I will usually eat at a fast food joint like Subway or MacDonald's in a food court or at a Thai style sit-down restaurant when flying out of Udorn.

At almost all international airports, there are lounges or sports bars which serve alcoholic beverages. Very seldom will I frequent these bars because many times I receive complimentary wine or beer on flights.

If you have a place to sit down, you can usually kill at least 30 minutes or an hour eating or drinking.

Talking with Passengers While Waiting for a Fight

Taken at Udonthani Airport on 04-13-15.  My wife is talking with my neighbor and his wife who accompanied us to Hong Kong.
Taken at Udonthani Airport on 04-13-15. My wife is talking with my neighbor and his wife who accompanied us to Hong Kong. | Source

Talking with Passengers

It always makes the time pass faster while waiting to board a flight by striking up a conversation with a fellow passenger. If you are travelling with friends or relatives, this is very easy to do. Travelling alone, however, is somewhat difficult for the shy and introverted person. Just the same, you will make your journey much more pleasant by breaking out of your shell and having a friendly chat with the individual who is waiting next to you.

Going Shopping at Duty-Free Stores

Although I hate shopping, looking for gifts in airport duty-free shops is a great way to kill time. In the past, I have purchased cigarettes, liquor, and cosmetics. On our recent trip to Hong Kong, my wife was searching for the Coach brand of handbags in duty-free shops.

Inside Hong Kong Airport Terminal

Taking a Photo at the Airport

Photo was taken inside Taipei International Airport in November of 2014
Photo was taken inside Taipei International Airport in November of 2014 | Source

Using Smart Phones and Tablets

When travelling 10 years ago, I saw a lot of passengers using their laptops in airport terminals. Today I don't see many laptops, but it's amazing to look at the number of people who are carrying smart phones and tablets. I don't have an I-pad yet, but I do have a smart phone which helps me kill time at airports. In addition to the few calls which I make and receive, the smart phone is used for internet surfing, taking pictures, and shooting videos. I probably could do more, but I haven't learned how to use all of the apps on my smart phone yet.

If I had a tablet, like most people, I would be tempted to take selfies, and then with my wife look at a lot of photos. The I-pad would also be nice for taking some videos in the airport. I'm not into playing on-line games, but this certainly would be a great way to kill time at airports.

Reading

Whenever I have a long layover in an airport, I make sure I am carrying a good book. Exciting action thrillers like The Bourne Retribution are a must. Books like this will keep me captivated, and it's amazing how quickly the time passes.

Airport Lounges

The Malaysian Airlines Golden Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia
The Malaysian Airlines Golden Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia | Source

Using Airport Lounges

Airport lounges are operated by most major airlines for business and first class passengers. The accommodations at these lounges include comfortable seating, WIFI access, free drinks and snacks, and a much quieter environment. While working for the government, I often travelled business class and was able to use United Airlines' United Club and the former Northwest Airlines lounge. Frequent fliers may also in some cases have access to these airport lounges. I can't think of a better way to kill time while waiting for a flight.

Killing Time at Airports

How do you like to kill time at airports?

  • Eating and drinking
  • Using smart phones and I-pads
  • Reading
  • Using airport lounges
  • Other
See results without voting

Watching Passengers

Finally, watching passengers can also be a nice way to kill time. As a man, I enjoy looking at beautiful attractive women. At an international airport, you also will see so many interesting different kinds of people from countries all over the world.

Summary

There are other ways to kill time such as by playing card games with friends or by looking at exhibits in many of the airports. If you are a smoker, you can also go into designated smoking rooms to satisfy your cravings and pass the time. The tips which I have suggested in this hub always work for me.

© 2015 Paul Richard Kuehn

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Comments 12 comments

Lee Cloak 18 months ago

Sound advice I am sure most people can use as most of us have probably experienced delays at airports, thanks for sharing, voted up, Lee


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georgescifo 18 months ago from India

Deleting my unwanted emails and messages on my smartphones is one of the best way that I choose to kill my time at the airport. There are also other options like watching passengers from different countries, and other various activities at the airport.


mikeydcarroll67 18 months ago

I usually use my smartphone-get caught up on all of the shows that I like to watch.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 18 months ago from Oklahoma

I know it isn't the most economical way to do things, but I do enjoy having a beer and socializing with other travelers when I have a layover at the airport.

Great read!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 18 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thanks for your comments, Lee, and I am pleased you liked this article. I appreciate you voting this hub up!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 18 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Yes, deleting unwanted emails and messages is a good way to pass the time. Watching passengers can sometimes be very interesting.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 18 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Yes, watching shows and youtube videos is also a good way to kill time.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 18 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Yes, a cool beer while socializing with people can be very enjoyable while passing the time. I'm happy you liked this hub.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas

With so much time to kill it might not take any longer to drive than to take a domestic flight inland. Believe it or not, I have never been off the ground on an airplane!

A person could probably write a new hub with all the time to kill waiting for their flight at the airport. ;) Voted up and useful/interesting and sharing on HP.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 18 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thanks for commenting! Why haven't you ever flown? Are you afraid of flying or just prefer driving or taking the train. I'm pleased you found this hub interesting and useful and really appreciate you sharing it on HP.


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Greensleeves Hubs 12 months ago from Essex, UK

Spending time at an airport is not one of my favourite activities! Not having a smart phone or ipad, it would be nice I think to have gaming devices or a public TV screen to watch - something which isn't usually available in the general public area. Having said that, my oddest experience ever was in a late night bar at Nairobi Airport Kenya. I was the only person there apart from the barman, and there was a TV screen showing a soft-porn film!! Not what you expect in a public place! The barman just grinned, and I don't know if it was by accident or design that the film happened to be on screen at that time :)

I try to arrive as late as I reasonably can at the airport, whilst always allowing for possible travel delays, so I just have time for a meal and a wander around the various concourse shops before heading off to the departure gate.

Paul, on another matter, I hope your recent hospital visit went OK and the investigation results were good news for you. Best wishes, Alun


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Paul Kuehn 10 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Alun, excuse my delay in answering this comment. My ultrasound was clear. I have another one scheduled in May of this year. Thanks for your comments!

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