There was a time when airports used to induce yawns and boredom amongst travelers. Though first-time travelers would jump on the opportunity to travel on a plane, regular flyers would cringe on the very thought of it. And don’t you talk about delayed flights! Some would actually start hurling abuses. I fall in the same category.
Harsh cannot miss his office as we usually travel on a packed schedule; at such a point there is nothing disappointing as a delayed or cancelled flight. And then a flight layover is no different – just that we know we have to spend a few precious hours at the airport just to save a few bucks! And why not? You can even save a lot of money on flight booking just if you know some hacks.
Thankfully, with the changing times, airports have evolved and now have a life of their own. So, once your bags are checked in and the boarding passes have been issued, you actually don’t have to spend your time looking here and there aimlessly. You can make the most of your time during flight layovers by indulging in these things (Trust me this is how I kill most of my layover periods).
A lot of airports look like upscale shopping malls where the prices are extremely high. And this is the reason Harsh holds my hand tight when we are at the airports (mystery solved).
So who told you to actually shop? Just have fun playing with the amazing travel gadgets or sample moisturizers at L’Occitane (It wouldn’t cost you a dime). You may also browse through the books section at the airport or check price tags in Hermes. Shell out money on some cute souvenirs or chocolates to bring home. I love bringing back a memoir from every place I visit; it doesn’t have to be really a pricey one).
Chow down a good meal before you board as the food served on the plane is notoriously bad (albeit some exceptions). It doesn’t necessarily have to be about a plastic tray meal at the usual food court; there are incredibly nice restaurants serving genuine gourmet cuisines, many a time of celebrity-chef lineages. This is a nice choice for travelers who love trying different regional cuisines.
For example: eat out at the Delhi Daredevil Sportsbar at the Delhi Airport. I am a big time foodie and I cannot keep my hands of food when at the airports. Forget airports, I also want to have a mid-air meal even if I had one just an hour before boarding the flight.
There cannot be anything more blissful than seating at an airport with free Wi-Fi connection. If you get yourself reserved in the deluxe lounges, you can enjoy comfy sitting for some time and that too for a small fee. You will also get treated to a food buffet, newspapers, and magazines over there. The other higher-end lounges at the airports, like Plaza Premium Lounge in Kuala Lumpur provide treat you to free draught beer and movies. You can get yourself airport lounge pass if you are a regular flyer and make the most of luxurious benefits. I myself have a HDFC Regalia Card which entitles me to a lot of smart benefits at airport VIP lounges.
Most of the time I have a flight layover, I connect my laptop and get set rolling out new blogs. It saves time and seems like a really wise investment.
Spacious prayer rooms or chapels at airports are great for some solitary introspection. There are multi-faith prayer rooms for travelers who want to meditate or simply sit in silence for some time. This restful place for travelers of all faith at airports – Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, Catholic, or Hindu – is ideal for those who wish to enjoy peaceful atmosphere while upholding religious observances.
All fitness freaks don’t have to get bothered about flight layover as they can pack up their yoga mats and work out on the airport. In order to get the blood flowing, you can practice deep breathing and a few good yoga postures between the layover. Many airports have fitness centers and gymnasium where travelers can work out their muscles or stretch out. Just find out about the airports that have this facility beforehand. Trust me, I am not a gym freak and I literally have to be dragged to one by Harsh or my friends.
There are a lot of airports – such as London’s Heathrow – where travelers can get themselves sleeping pods and rest for a while between their layovers. For a small amount, around $50, you can take these pods for 4-5 hours and even take a shower before leaving. So, instead of snoozing on the airport floor, you can have a comfortable sleep for some time.
Just make sure you find out about the location of the airport when traveling around so as to find out about sleeping amenities in advance. And if there aren’t pods, then you have loungers where you can comfortably take a nap. Hong Kong International Airport and Vancouver International Airport have padded benches where travelers can stretch out.
An airport is rarely short of people. To pass your time at the airport, just strike a conversation with a fellow traveler. If you can’t talk, just try and observe people; try to play detective. With your observation power, try to know as much as possible. An airport is the best place to find interesting characters from different corners of the world, and thus perfect for conducting anthropological research. Try and eavesdrop on your fellow travelers conversation. I know, I know, eavesdropping is bad. But we are humans after all. Don’t you know how all talented storywriters take inspiration from eavesdropping onto others conversations. Who knows, I might write a book of my own by following this code. Just kidding. I’m happy traveling!
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