TFA 6: Airport Appreciation

Happy Travel Tuesday #TT! In this edition of Tips From Above, a caller asks how to pass the time during an airport layover. Since Bobby and Sara have had more than their fair share of airport appreciation time, this was an easy answer. Do you have any suggestions for making layovers easier?


Jim March 8, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of doing an involuntary mileage run - DFW/PHL/DFW, when what I was trying to do was go to Montpelier, VT, via Burlington, for a business meeting. Vermont got over two feet of snow, so I just sort of wandered on back home.

PHL is a nice airport for a layover, but I was so anxious and stressed that I could not relax and enjoy it. I needed to drive myself home when I got to DFW so I could not enjoy the nice wine bar they have. And I was dragging my carry-on bag - didn't want to pay the $35 fee to check on USAirways - so I just got tired. I sat at my departure gate, ate some soft frozen yogurt, and read a book.

Both flights were full. The guy sitting next to me (PHL-DFW) was a Muslim, and kind of tried to do his Muslim prayer routine although he couldn't face Mecca because he was in a middle seat in an Airbus. A first for me!!!

At any rate - airport layovers are nicer than they used to be, because there are more places to eat and drink and shop in the airport than there used to be. But airport layovers are unpleasant at best and torture at worst.

While slumming the concourses, I love to seek out any local eats or specialty restaurants that stand out from the usual chains. I use a iPad app that lists all (US airport only) edible options including location info, detailed maps and traveler reviews. Also fun on the local front: look for the shop selling area-themed souvenirs (think wacky hats and things that should never be represented by a chocolate mold). It's just as entertaining as a tryst with SkyMall Mag after tossing back a few.

If stuck in the terminal for an especially long, unplanned visit (think Tom Hanks in that movie), channel your inner only-child and make up your own funny travel games. For example: pretend you're in the Amazing Race and see how fast you can make it through every gate area in alpha-numerical order, wait quietly in line to board a random flight and say "Oh no! I thought this was the flight to (name the flight's destination city), CANADA" when you reach the front, visit the loudest bar and convince total strangers to strike up a game of airport "Never Have I Ever," "Psychiatrist," or "Truth or Dare," or just set up a makeshift easel and begin sketching the concourse then see if any passengers want to buy your 'art.'