Long connection? Delayed flight? Arrived early for your flight? Here are some tips that will help you pass--and dare I say enjoy--your time at the airport:
Get the Lay of the Land Either before your trip or when you land, get a sense of the airport: what's there, what's not, what appeals to you, what doesn't. I can't tell you the amount of times I've settled on a place to eat, drink or lounge only to find out later there's a much better place 5 mins down the concourse. Taking a few seconds to plan ahead could mean the different between an enjoyable vs unenjoyable airport layover.
There's an App for That If you're at an airport in the US, there's an iPhone app that can tell you everything you need to know about the airport. Download GateGuru to guide your way.
Sleep Many major domestic and international hubs have airport hotels attached. Replenishing lost sleep is a commodity when traveling, so don't rule out this option. Most airport hotels have day, hourly or overnight rates.
Lounge Around Many airline lounges offer day-passes for those not indulging in business or first class. If you've ever immersed yourself in the serenity and service offerings of an airline lounge, you know that paying a little extra for lounge access is worth it--in food and drink alone--not including everything else.
Take a Tour Earlier this year I had a layover at the İstanbul Atatürk Airport, excited at the prospect of being in Istanbul for a few hours, I found out about Turkish Airlines free tours of the city. Turns out I didn't have enough time to indulge, but the opportunity is there, regardless of whether it's organized/available via THY or self-directed. Check out your airport or airlines touring options before you go!
Relax Most major airports have mobile spas offering nail service, massage and hair dressing. Some airports (like Singapore's Changi) even offer the opportunity to don your bathing suit and sit poolside avec un bev. If you're feeling particularly energy-filled, many airport hotels even offer a workout/shower service.
People watch People watching at airports is like a global lesson in trends. It's so underrated. I love playing the "where is that person from" game and spotting 'styles du moment.' This 'game' is even more fun with a specialty coffee or cocktail in-hand.
[photo by ocean yamaha]