When you’re stuck in the airport for a long layover, it’s easy to feel bored, lonely, and even helpless when you’re on your own and can’t sleep without the fear of missing your flight. However, there are a number of ways to not only survive hours in an airport but also make the most of it, learned from years of experience with long layovers.
If you’re struggling with how to survive your long layover, these are seven tips to optimise your experience and your trip.
1. Download TV and Movies In Advance
Most airports will only allow you a few hours of free WiFi, which isn’t effective if you have a long layover and want WiFi for the whole time. However, you can download podcasts, TV shows, and movies on your laptop, tablet, or phone so you’ll be able to enjoy them throughout not only the layover but your flight as well.
Ideal apps for this feature are Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, but be sure to check your streaming platforms before you leave for the airport and see if you can download media to go!
2. Take Yourself On a Restaurant Date
A long layover is usually best spent with some food to ensure you’re keeping yourself nourished and hydrated. Though airport restaurants can be expensive, you can either treat yourself or just grab a side or drink so that you can make use of having your own seat and table (and free water!) at the restaurant.
If you’re on your own for the layover, order some food, watch your pre-downloaded Netflix shows, and relax in your own private space in the restaurant. If they offer free refills on drinks, be sure to make use of this, too!
3. Get Comfortable At An Empty Gate
If you have a long layover, you don’t necessarily need to go immediately to your gate, especially because there will probably be a few flights departing at that gate before yours. Instead, roam the airport for an empty gate that doesn’t have any departing flights soon and get comfortable! Look for a seat by a wall outlet so you can charge all of your devices.
Even though you shouldn’t sleep and accidentally miss your flight, you can prop your feet up on your suitcase and get comfortable, even laying down on two seats and resting while you can.
4. Call Family Or Friends
If you’re on a long layover alone, or you’re just bored of your pre-downloaded content for the flight, find a quiet spot and call your family or friends. They’ll certainly want to hear from you, and it’ll make the time fly by if you get deep in conversation.
To put this in perspective, if you call 4 people and talk for 30 minutes, you’ve already seentwo2 hours of your layover fly by. You can also walk around the airport while you talk and get your steps in!
5. Download Your Airline’s App
Since you have a long layover and you may not be sitting at your gate the entire time, make sure you download your airline’s app so you get updates on your flight and any delays. On the app, you’ll be able to see where your plane is coming from, upgrade your seat, and see where in the airport your gate is, along with other features depending on your airline.
The worst thing you want to happen on a long layover is to wait all that time in the airport and then miss your flight, so bite the bullet and download the app you need so you get push notifications when there’s an update.
6. Pack Essentials In Your Carry-On
When you’re packing your carry-on, be sure to prepare for your long layover and pack smart. In other words, think of everything you may want or need during your layover to make you more comfortable, including an extra pair of clothes or shoes, snacks, books, toothbrush, and toothpaste, or makeup.
If you have all that time to wait in the airport, you may want different items in your carry-on so you can optimise your layover and freshen up or get comfortable, and you’ll be kicking yourself if these things you want are stuck in your checked bag already on the next plane.
7. Sign Up For Standby On An Earlier Flight
Depending on how long your layover is and your budget, it can be worth it to sign up for standby on an earlier flight so that you don’t have to spend all that time waiting for a later flight. This is available for any flight but getting a seat on the standby list varies on when you’re flying and where you’re flying to, as the standby list can vary from 3 people to 40 people.
You can sign up for the standby list either on the airline’s app on your phone or at the customer service desk in the airport, but be wary that you may have to pay an additional fee if you get confirmed on an earlier flight and be sure to check what this fee is for your airline before getting your heart set on this.