Airport layovers are normally something people want to avoid especially when they are on their way home. They can range from the ordinary 2-hour layover and go all the way up to spending more than half a day at the airport with 8 to 12-hour ones.
Airlines normally operate out of hubs in large cities. They operate flights that converge in these hubs where you catch your connecting flight to your final destination or another hub. Using this method ensures better efficiency for airline seat utilization because it gives airline companies the capability to group people together and a better chance of filling a flight ensuring the amount of fuel and manpower spent is maximized on the revenue they earn from seat sales. This is the reason why non-stop flights are usually more expensive sometimes by an exorbitantly high amount.
Now that you’ve understood the rationale behind the layover and see it as inevitability in travel there shouldn’t be a reason to hate it. Airports, particularly the larger hubs your layover would most likely occur in, are now better equipped than ever to handle an increasing demand of different passenger needs. Here are a few things you might consider doing while you’re waiting for your flight to leave.
Sample the Local Flavors
Airports are the gateway to a country and best represent that country’s local flavor. With restaurants owned and run by people from that city, what better way to sample the cuisine of that country by patronizing their restaurants? Find yourself in Tokyo’s Narita Airport for a few hours; why not try sushi or ramen made by Japanese cooks? This experience could open your eyes, or rather open your palate, and make you realize the deliciousness of a country.
Explore the Airport’s Features
The airport of the 21st century contains plenty of attractions to cater to the passenger traffic that goes through it everyday. I don’t mean just watching planes takeoff and land from their view deck, although that is still a timeless classic one could never get tired of. Some airports have museums inside them; some have exhibits that highlight the host country’s culture and arts, other airports just give you every chance to relax and make you feel like you’re not in an airport at all. For instance, Singapore’s Changi Airport, awarded with several accolades for its features has a Koi Pond that helps you relax and unwind before getting on that metal tube again.
Catch Up on Shopping
Contrary to what we were told that buying things at an airport at the last minute can be very expensive, a large airport hub actually contains some of the best Duty-Free Shopping available. International airports benefit from commercial agreements that allow a taxation-free zone to promote commerce and free-flow of goods in it. This means discounted prices for luxury items, alcohol, tobacco, perfumes, jewelry and many others. Go ahead get your special someone that Christmas gift ahead of time.
A lot of airports have local spas, showers, sleep pods and day rooms that can cater to an exhausted traveler who just stepped off a 14-hour flight. Here’s a helpful tip, if you don’t sleep well on planes and your flight to your final destination is relatively short like a 3-hour trip and you want to maximize your day in your final destination, get a sleep pod or day room in your layover airport. It will help you gain a day back, a precious commodity, if you have limited time to see family or want to see most sights.
See, layovers aren’t so bad. Especially if you can get a very cheap flight that gives you a longer layover, with the right amount of planning you can put that saved money back into your vacation and enjoy it even more.