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Flight Delayed? Here Are 10 Ways To Pass The Time

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With travel ramping up to pre-pandemic levels for summer 2022, so have flight delays across the US. Since May, US air travelers have experienced an increase in flight delays by approximately 25% compared to last year. While the delays and cancellations are due to a myriad of factors, they also don't seem to be going away anytime soon. What's a stranded traveler to do?

To make those dreaded flight delays a little more bearable, here are some easy and fun ways to pass the time at the airport.

woman wearing glasses legs crossed holding a cup of coffee sitting and relaxing in an airport lounge

Hit Up The Lounge

This may seem like an obvious one, but don't rule out the option to check in at the airport lounge if you're flight is delayed by a few hours or more. Whether you're a frequent flyer with lounge access already or are thinking about splurging on a day pass, airport lounges can really help ease the stress of travel delays.

Before your trip, we recommended checking the lounge amenities of where you'll be flying out of so that you can gauge if your splurge will be worth it. Many lounges come with free food, drink, showers, nap pods (!), workout equipment, and even a spa – a stay here is practically a vacation in itself.

Spa Facilities At An Airport Lounge

Catch Up On Your Podcasts

Addicted to podcasts? Who isn't nowadays. In case of a flight delay the next time you travel, make sure you download the latest episodes of some of your favorite podcasts to your phone before setting off to the airport so that you'll have plenty of entertainment to fill those hours at the airport.

man sitting at the airport at the gate on the ground listening to music on his phone

Chill Out

Sometimes there's really nothing you can do about a flight delay, so might as well make the most of it. So, why not use this time to pause from your busy life? Once you've gone through security, find a restaurant or coffee shop to relax at in your terminal and take a beat.

family of four eating at an airport restaurnt

Research Your Trip

Another major part of travel is trip planning, and unless you're a travel wizard, there's probably some aspects of your trip that you haven't researched yet. A great way to be productive at the airport in case of a big delay is to research your destination.

Look up the do's and don'ts section in your guidebook and inform yourself about the local culture and customs and read up on any hidden gems to be found that can make your trip that much more meaningful.

woman wearing a face mask reading a book at the airport


There's no better time than an airport delay to start taking care of those daunting work tasks you've been putting off. Stay on top of the game by getting ahead of those emails and other important work things as you relax in your airport terminal before your flight.

Remember, if you plan on using your laptop, phone, or tablet at the airport make sure you have a VPN installed beforehand. Airport WiFi is public, so a VPN will help to hide your IP address from potential hackers.

woman on her laptop at an airport lounge with a coffee working

Browse The Duty Free

You don't need to spend big money if you don't have the budget, but it's always fun to window shop at the airport. Duty Free shops are also a great place to find big brands without the tax added on, so if you need to replenish that bottle of perfume or cologne, the airport is the place to do it.

Wines and Spirits store at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4 is a newly built passenger terminal building at Singapore

Play A Card Game

Pack a deck of cards with you on your next trip and bring back this lost art in case of an airport delay. Set up camp with your travel buddies near your gate or find an available table and enjoy a few hours of classic, quality time playing a new card game.

Group of friends relaxing and playing cards together. Young people hanging out together around a table during a party playing a game of cards.

Work Out

What better time to get your step count up than when you have a few hours to kill and plenty of walking space? It's super important to keep moving when you can while traveling, especially before a long plane ride. Use your flight delay time to wander the airport and even do some lunges and squats while you're at it.

For some tips, check out these ideas for simple exercises to do at the airport.


In transit is one of the best times to reflect on life's larger questions. In case of an airport delay, take out your journal and start writing down your thoughts. Journaling is a great way to calm your mind, so you'll board your flight practically stress-free and ready for the adventure ahead.

Woman with medical mask reading book and drinking coffee.

Check Out The Airport Art

Lots of airport revamps mean a better passenger experience, and many new spaces in airports are being built to keep travelers inspired. For instance, LaGuardia's most recent upgrade in Terminal C features work by local NY artists that is definitely worth a look.

traveler walking past art project at new Terminal C LaGuardia Airport

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