Best Things to Do at an Airport When Waiting out a Flight Delay

Flight delays are a nuisance. Not only are you at risk of missing a connecting flight or a crucial appointment, you end up having to spend more time in the airport.

The summer of 2019 has already shaped up to be one of the worst for air travelers, as airlines have canceled or delayed flights and bumped passengers more than usual, according to CNBC.

While some places (read: New York City’s LaGuardia) offer just a few restaurants to spend your time at, other airports have plenty of things to do for delayed passengers.

But even if the airport itself doesn’t entertain you, you can still use your time wisely to get ahead at work or get some financial compensation from the delayed flight. Read on for more!


Indulge in the airport’s perks.

These days, airports offer a lot more than fast food joints and magazine stands.

From spas to swanky restaurants, there are plenty of amenities available if you want to splurge during your extended airport stay.


Go duty-free shopping.

If you’re traveling international and have some foreign currency left over, try heading to a duty-free store – or items bought in a country without tax.

While you always save money on taxes, prices for certain goods vary by airport and country, according to the price comparison website Duty Free Addict. Yet for items with high taxes outside the airport – like alcohol and tobacco – duty-free could be a good bet.

Some airports offer their own large selection of duty-free products you can’t get in the country. If you were looking for a deal on French perfume, for instance, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport has good deals on Chanel, Hermès, and other high-end scents you can take with you in bottles over the 3.4-ounce requirement, according to The Points Guy.


Make a little extra money.

If your flight was delayed and the airline is at fault, you may qualify for compensation.

While weather delays or issues with air traffic control won’t get you cash, losing your luggage or waiting on the tarmac for over three hours means you’re entitled to some compensation from the airline.

The app AirHelp tracks flight delays and sees if there are ways to get you compensation. The service gets compensation for as much as $700, and helps both domestic and international passengers.


Try to get into an airport lounge.

If you’re delayed as a result of an airline issue, you can see if they will give you a pass to the airport lounge.

Lounges are often more comfortable than other seated areas around the airport, plus offer free food and drinks. If you’re going to be at the airport an extra couple of hours, you may as well be comfortable.

Airlines won’t be immediately inclined to give you a pass, however, so Skyskanner recommends asking nicely.


Catch up on work.

Lifehacker writer Heather Yamada-Hosley said a flight layover offers time to catch up on work.

Her suggestions include:

  • Sorting through work emails in the airport so you can save time during your first day back from vacation.
  • Prepare your customs forms before you land.
  • Write a travel blog documenting your adventures while the memories are still fresh.

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