The hardest part of any trip that requires an airplane flight is spending time in the airport. Granted, the flight experience itself is pretty awful. Sitting in a cramped seat, knees under your chin, head bent forward, arms pinned in by “armrests” for even a short flight, is painful.
But, given current security concerns that require you to report to the airport two to three hours before your flight, and the rising number of cancelled and/or delayed flights; there is growing trend for travelers to spend as much as or more time in the airport than they spend in the air.
One flight I recently completed was a three-hour flight with a connecting flight of three and one half hours. Add to this three hours before the first flight and an originally scheduled layover of three hours which was lengthened to four and one half hours because of a “flight delay”, and you can see the pattern.
So, the question is, what do you do with all the wonderful time you will spend enjoying the airport experience? My advice? Expect and accept the inevitable.
- The parent with the very cranky, tired and crying child will be on your flight and possibly will be your seat-mate. On the other hand, the child may be so exhausted that they will sleep through the flight.
- If you look for a place that has healthy, appetizing food, you probably won’t find it- so give yourself a break and eat something. You won’t find much worth eating on the plane.
- Any announcement made in the airport will be unintelligible. Rely on your phone for information about flight and gate changes, check it with the agent at the gate and look at the arrivals and departure displays frequently.
- Gates can change at the speed of light, leaving you to haul your carry-on one more mile to the new gate. You will soon realize, that a gate change will come at the last minute and will be a minimum of one mile away.
- Save your book, magazine or i phone movie for the plane. While you are at the airport, walk frequently. That is something you can’t do on the plane and certain parts of your body will thank you for the exercise later.
- Above all, keep your sense of humor, or at least don’t lose your temper. The wait can be annoying, and people can be and often are rude in such situations. Remember, those around you are as tired and irritable as you are. Give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt.