In 2012, I left Woodlands in Singapore to go to Changi Airport an hour before my flight back to the Philippines.
Needless to say, I arrived too late and had to buy a replacement ticket on the spot, a mistake that cost me a whopping $300. That experience taught me a really expensive lesson: make sure to leave the house early to make it to your flight!
I took the lesson to heart so much that there were times afterwards that I arrived at the airport too early, as early as eight hours before my flight. Since I mostly travel solo, I had to think of a lot of ways to pass the time at the airport.
If you do find yourself with a lot of time before your flight, or if you have to spend the night at the airport, here are some things you can do to kill time until boarding.
I never, ever leave the house without my Kindle. I have thousands of books in it, and I can theoretically spend days at the airport just reading. I love reading a series. I finished Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series while traveling in Thailand.
If you’re not into e-readers, just bring a novel, and it will take care of a few hours’ stay at the airport for you.
Play games in your phone or tablet.
I don’t have a tablet and only have a sucky Samsung Galaxy Y smartphone. The internal memory is so small I couldn’t even install games.
I’m pretty sure you have a tablet or a much nicer phone, so before you leave for the airport, stock up on games. It can occupy you for an hour or two before boredom sets in.
Surf or just watch movies.
If you’re in an airport with a good Wifi connection (unfortunately not in the Philippines), you can easily use your gadgets to spend hours online. Update your Facebook status, chat with friends, email your parents on where you are.
You can also watch movies on your laptop or tablet. Since one movie takes almost two hours, you definitely wouldn’t notice the time pass by. Based on experience, though, I wouldn’t recommend watching Hachiko or My Sister’s Keeper at the airport. They’re a guaranteed tearjerker!
Log in some hours of work.
Since I’m an online worker, it doesn’t bother me to spend some time in an airport, as long as there’s an internet connection.
I loved spending the night at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport, because the Wifi is fast and free. I would sit at McDonald’s, use their power source, and order a meal which would last me the whole night.
Get a massage.
In airports with bad connectivity, I just choose different things to do. In Manila’s Terminal 3 (4th floor), for example, there’s a massage place for P600 per hour. I tried it once and it was pretty good. They also have a lounge area where you can lay down and take a nap for P250 per two hours.
You can also find massage chairs in airports in Singapore and Thailand. Insert some coins (or bills), sit back, and enjoy the foot massage.
After all these things, you may feel sleepy, so go to sleep. In almost every airport I’d been to, it was okay to find a quiet corner, lay down on the ground, and go to sleep.
I loved the airport in Frankfurt am Main; chairs with cushions are plentiful and you can stretch out with no one bothering you. Coffee and hot chocolate were free flowing too!
Of course, you should be careful with your belongings. I travel with two backpacks; I use the 45L one as my pillow, and hook my arm around the smaller backpack. I also bought a bicycle lock for this reason, but I haven’t had the chance to use it yet.
I’m pretty sure there are a lot more (creative) ways to waste time at the airport, like get a flu shot or do some yoga. Alternatively, you can also do what the guy below did. He got stuck overnight in Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport and made a music video out of boredom.
How about you? What are your suggested things to do to kill time at the airport?