Stuck at the Airport? Our Top 6 Alternative Airport Boredom Busters

Four hours to go until your flight leaves, you are rushing around the house, grabbing…

Four hours to go until your flight leaves, you are rushing around the house, grabbing those last-minute items to squeeze into your overflowing suitcase. Out the door to the waiting taxi with a jacket hanging off one arm and all your gear in the other. A moment of panic as you re-check your pockets for your passport only to find it had mysteriously slipped into another bag.

All that stress washes away as you hand over your luggage and receive your shiny boarding pass. You give yourself a mental high five and a pat on the back. You don’t even mind that the beefy security guard has just given you a rub-down that you would usually pay for in Thailand.

Then the reality hits you like a wet fish in the face. What was it all for?

I arrived 3 hours early for my flight, and I still had 2 hours and 45 minutes to go. Frick!

If you have ever traveled on a plane, you know how much time is wasted at airports. More so if you are in transit. Our most recent long haul journey from Auckland to Edinburgh was a touch over 37 hours, with stops in Melbourne, Brunei (10 hours!), Paris and London. Spent more time at airports than in the air.

Not to mention that once you have seen one airport, you have seen them all. Sure some airports are on a different scale. Singapore versus Paris comes to mind. But generally, most are similar.

Waiting for lounges with butt-numbing plastic seats, queues that Apple groupies waiting for the next iPod would hate, and everything is ridiculously overpriced. How can a McDonald’s burger be more expensive at an airport?

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To beat the boredom and turn your airport frown upside down, here are a few tips to keep you amused:


If you need to kill time, why not catch up on all those posts you have meant to write? I have at least 20 different positions that need to be finished off, and we hardly ever get 2 hours to do nothing. This post started at the airport while I thought up fun ways to pass my time.

Guerilla Marketing by Four Jandals at the airport

Guerilla Marketing

I can’t take the credit for this because I borrowed the idea from Keith at Velvet Escape. If you have a website or travel blog, then head over to the bright lights of the gadget store. Use the laptops, which generally have free WiFi, to connect with us on Twitter and Facebook before changing the preferences to set your website as the homepage.

Perfume and nice smellies

Before taking off, make sure that you are not one of those nose-curdling travelers that makes your fellow passengers breathe through their mouths. Do you know all those expensive perfumes you see with exotic names paraded around by beautiful models? Well, now it’s time to smell like them. Just don’t use the roll-on…

Free alcohol testers

Unless you are flying at an ungodly hour, most duty-free stores will have free alcohol taste testing. Usually, it will only be a small shot but remember that over-packed suitcase you wheel around? Just change your outfit and go nuts.

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Magazine reading

Love your goss? Then turn into one annoying people that shopkeepers loathe by sticking your nose into a good old magazine. Or pick up some travel photography tips from one of the technical mags.

People watching

Our last airport boredom buster and my personal favorite are just watching those around you. Who are they? Where are they going? Who are they traveling with? I love making up stories about them. Is that guy and girl (young enough to be his daughter) related, or are they running away on a “business” trip together?

Failing all that, just watch the raw emotions at the arrival or departure gates because they are heartwarming. Tears of joy as passengers arrive into the arms of missed loved ones or sorrow as they wave goodbye through the glass panels.

See you at the airport (don’t delete our blog off the homepage)!

What are your favorite boredom busters?