How To Survive For Free In An Airport

POSTED BY Mavy | June 5, 2015
Label: Flights, Travel Tips

Survive for free in an airport

When your flight gets delayed it can be infuriating, not only are your travel plans disrupted but you have to spend a lot more time in the airport. Some flights can be delayed for hours, and occasionally overnight. You might even have to temporarily set up camp in the airport like Tom Hanks does in ‘The Terminal’.

If your flight is delayed by more than an hour you will have to find some ways to pass the time. Sitting in an airport with nothing to do can be mind-numbing, and it can make the delays seem even longer. If you can find ways to keep yourself occupied then your experience will be a lot less painful.

You could go and spend your money on duty free shopping or pay to use the airport facilities and entertainment. However, if you don’t want to waste your money then don’t despair, there are other ways you can pass the time without spending all your cash. Here are a few ways you can survive for free in an airport.

Play cards

Survive for free in an airport

Take a pack of cards with you to the airport and if your flight is delayed you can pass the time by playing card games. Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) does this in ‘The Terminal’, he ends up playing card games with the airport staff.


If you enjoy reading then bring a few books with you. Reading is an excellent way to pass the time and let your mind escape from the hustle and bustle of the airport. If you get stuck into a great book, time will pass a lot quicker.


It’s not good for you to sit still for hours on end. If you have to wait around in the airport for a long time make sure you do some exercise every hour or so, even if it’s just going for a stroll. Some people have even been known to whip out their yoga matt and do some stretching in the airport.  A few airports have free exercise facilities, for example, in San Francisco airport they have a dedicated Yoga room and Singapore airport has a 40 foot slide.

Turn the airport into your hotel

Survive for free in an airport

If you know you are going to have to stop overnight and don’t want to splash out on a hotel you might have to make the airport feel a bit more hospitable. Bring a blanket, a cushion and set up camp in a quiet area of the airport.

People watching

Some airports can get extremely busy, with thousands of people passing through every minute. Airports are actually one of the best places to do some people watching because there are so many different people in one location.

Plane spotting

If you are stuck at an airport and you are interested in planes you might as well take the opportunity to do a bit of plane spotting. See what type of planes take off whilst you are waiting and take some photographs.

Puzzles and crosswords

A simple yet very effective way to pass the time. Keep your mind active and prevent sever boredom by playing some classic games.

Chat to a fellow passenger

Strike up a conversation with a fellow passenger and find out what sort of journey they are going on. You never know you could end up having a really interesting chat.

Start a travel diary

If your travel adventure is put on hold due to flight delays then why not start a travel diary. You can document all the strange and interesting things that happen at the airport and your experience of getting delayed.


Survive for free in an airport

Lots of people really struggle to doze off at an airport, but if you can fall asleep the hours will fly by much faster. You will also arrive at your destination feeling a little less exhausted if you do manage to get some shut eye.

Watch something on your tablet

If you have a tablet bring it with you to the airport so that you can watch a few TV programmes and films if your flight is delayed.

Go online

Lots of airports these days have internet access, so if you have a device with you then you can browse the internet, play online games and log on to your social networks. You could even upload a status about how you are stranded at the airport and get some sympathy from all your friends. There are also plenty of free apps you can download to help you pass the time.

Do some work

If you have work to do and your flight gets delayed then you might as well take the opportunity to get through some of your workload.

Help someone

In ‘The Terminal’ Viktor Navorski ends up helping a few people, including Amelia Warren, his love interest in the film played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. If you see someone in need while you are waiting around give them a helping hand.

Use the washing facilities

Let’s face it, if you are stuck in an airport for more than two or three hours you are probably going to need to freshen up. It’s not particularly glamorous but you may want to spend some time using the washing facilities.


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