Eight Tips to Kill Time at Airports
Aircraft Parked at Departure Gate
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 before 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.
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 a Thai style sit-down restaurant when flying out of Udorn.
At almost all international airports, there are lounges or sports bars that 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.
A Hong Kong Airport Restaurant
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 traveling with friends or relatives, this is very easy to do. Traveling alone, however, is somewhat difficult for a 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.
Talking with Passengers While Waiting for a Fight
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.
Using Smartphones and Tablets
When traveling 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 smartphones and tablets. I don't have an I-pad yet, but I do have a smartphone that helps me kill time at airports. In addition to the few calls which I make and receive, the smartphone 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 smartphone 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 at the airport. I'm not into playing online games, but this certainly would be another great way to kill time at airports.
Taking a Photo at the Airport
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 fast the time passes.
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 traveled 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.
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 around the world.
In June 2019, I had an eight-hour layover during the day at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan. I killed part of the time by watching the takeoffs and landings of numerous aircraft. Most of the flights I saw were operated by either ANA aka All Nippon Airways or Japan Airlines. During one 30-minute period, planes were either taking off or landing at the rate of one per minute.
There are other ways to kill time such as 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 article always work for me.
Killing Time at Airports
How do you like to kill time at airports?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Paul Richard Kuehn