Sometimes, life is filled with little annoyances – a parking ticket, a swig of expired milk, that jerky-looking guy snagging the last ticket to the movie you wanted to see.  But rancid as that milk may have tasted (or as jerky as that guy may have looked) there is no greater annoyance than having your flight delayed or canceled as you stand at the terminal gate.  We know what you’re thinking: “What in the name of all that’s buttery and delicious am I going to do for the next [Insert unbearable length of time here]?!”  First…take a deep breath.  And second – have no fear!  Despite popular belief, time spent waiting around the airport does not have to be miserable.  Check out these four great ways to help you painlessly pass the time in an airport.

Catch Up On Current Events: Since you are A) at the airport and B) reading this article, chances are you’re a jetsetter (and an individual of sterling literary discretion).  You live a life of fabulousness, chock full of romantic café rendezvous, tan gentlemen with smooth, mysterious accents, and champagne brunches at the Monaco Grand Prix.  What you are not flush with, however, is time.  And while you’ve been gallivanting your way across the globe, life around you has not come to a standstill.  Things have been discovered. Lindsay Lohan’s gone back to prison.  Old regimes have crumbled and new ones have taken form.  Take this mandatory downtime and play catch-up on your world events.  Most airports these days offer free wireless – spend a few hours on CNN or your news source of choice.  Click around and read three or four articles from each section.  If getting online is not an option, grab a newspaper and read it from cover to cover.  Trust us, being well versed in current events makes you a more interesting person – even if you do spend your winters in Kamalame Cay.

Exercise: Yes, you read correctly – exercise.  Since most airports are proudly sponsored by public naps and six dollar cups of coffee, exercising may seem counter-intuitive.  However, if you have a few hours to kill, the airport may be the perfect place to get your swell on.  Given the transient nature of their consumer, it is not uncommon for hotels surrounding the airport complex to offer day passes to their gyms.  Another thought: How about a brisk walk?  The average person burns anywhere from three to five calories per minute while walking.  Spend a few hours doing laps of the terminals, and you’ll be able to enjoy a few guilt-free martinis when they finally let you aboard the plane.      

Embark on a Scavenger Hunt: Though technically confined within a city’s limits, airports often feel like a world of their own.  They have their own police force, shops, and even cuisine – all tailored to cater to their own unique population of sometimes wound-up, sometimes worn-down citizens.  So like America the Beautiful or your local fondue franchise, airport terminals are melting pots – places where you can see all sorts of people doing all sorts of things.  With so much going on around you, why not create a scavenger hunt to pass the time?  Recommended items may include:


1.       Five people in “State School” shirts or sweatshirts (Michigan State, Penn State, etc.)

2.       Someone in an all-out sprint

3.       A male barista wearing an earring


1.       One of those cool K-9 security squads

2.       Someone taking a full-blown, mouth open nap

3.       A male barista not wearing an earring


1.       A food item under $3.00

2.       A man in a polka dot bow-tie

3.       Someone still not wearing shoes beyond security

Give it a try!  And while we can’t guarantee Airport Scavenger Hunts will be your new favorite Saturday night activity, we can guarantee it will be the most excited a man in a polka-dot bowtie will ever make you.

Watch A Flick: Just as James Bond preferred his Walther PPK, movies are many times the weapon of choice for most experienced time killers.  Many terminals have movie-rental kiosks designed especially for woebegone travelers in dire need of a ninety minute escape.  Try renting a movie and playing it on your laptop.  Or, since free Wi-Fi is offered at many airports, why not take this unexpected block of time to catch up on your Netflix?  For the philosophical folks out there, think of Netflix as the perfect fit for your situation.  How better to pass an afternoon suspended in time within the walls of a great construct than watching old television shows suspended in time within a great construct?  Or…maybe you are the show and the airport is some greater being’s Netflix, and you have been suspended in time so this greater being can watch you.  Whoa…so meta.

We hope you enjoy any or all of these four great ways to pass time at the airport.  And if you don’t enjoy them, hopefully your flight takes off soon.