13 Ways To Keep Busy When Your Flight Is Delayed

Is there anything worse than arriving at an airport only to find your plane is delayed and you’ve got hours to waste stuck in an airport? Most travellers will be on board with the frustration you will feel when you realise your plans aren’t going to run on time. 

It’s a shared, hated experience, and sadly, delays are a common occurrence that most people have to deal with. They’re not always the most enjoyable part of travel, especially if you’re on a tight schedule or have a connecting flight. But by making the most of your time in the airport, you can ward off boredom and stress, make the time pass quickly, and get on that plane before you know it.

So what can you do to keep busy at an airport?

Make Plans for Your Trip

If you’re on your way back, or out to a new destination, now is the ideal time to make alternate plans for your trip or arrangements that you didn’t get around to making before arriving at the airport.

It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling for business or pleasure; this delay could be exactly what you need to take control and make some plans for your arrival. These days, pretty much every airport will have wifi for you to connect to, so you can get online, make plans, arrange ongoing travel details, etc.

Play Games

Take out your phone or device and indulge in some online gaming. If you find yourself with unexpected free time, why not use it to have some fun and unwind? It’s a great way to relieve stress and make the most of your delay, allowing you to relax and enjoy the moment.

You can get lost in your favourite game, play Candy Crush on your phone, do a crossword or two or even play multiplayer games. Why not see if there are any scavenger hunt types of games you can adapt to your environment to keep your buddy moving during your waiting time?

Read a Book

Airports will likely have a shop you can buy a book from or you can download a book or two onto your devices and spend your time reading. Getting lost in a book is an excellent way for you to pass the time and can provide you with an outlet to escape your surroundings and get some enjoyment.

Plus, if it’s a long delay, you might be able to finish the entire book without disruptions, giving you  a sense of satisfaction; remember you might need a new one for the flight if you read something you were planning to read post-take off.

Take A Shopping Tour

You don’t necessarily need to be anything, but now is the perfect time to embark on a mini adventure and stroll around all the shops at a leisurely pace. Go into each shop and peruse the goods, buy something if you wish or can afford to, but take your time and make sure you go to as many as you can before it’s time to board.

Hopefully, you won’t get too far before you’re called to say boarding is ready, but you never know. You might find some hidden gems in the stores inside your airport waiting to be discovered.

Book Into A Lounge

Why not upgrade your wait and book into an airport lounge? These lounges can have different amenities depending on the airport and facilities available. Some lounges offer free food and drinks for a few hours. Others might have sleeping pods, relaxation areas, shower facilities, and more.

If you want a change of scenery from the standard waiting section, stroll to the nearest lounge and see if there are any spaces you can book.

People Watch

People can be fascinating creatures, and stopping and watching what others are doing can be an extremely fun hobby to partake in while you have nothing else to do. Suppose you’re with other people, so why not try a game called people bingo? Look out for different people or groups of people e.g. the first person to see 5 people wearing shorts, or someone late to their flight or coming out of duty free with more than they can carry.


Getting a good meal can be an extremely positive for spending your delay at an airport. If you’re a frequent flyer, is there a restaurant you have been wanting to try but it’s too busy or you’ve never had time to go to? Now is the ideal time to check it out and, hopefully, enjoy some good food.

Get Pampered

Lots of airports these days have a range of amenities and services for visitors. Why not look to see if there is a salon or spa centre? Sometimes these are included in lounge access, as mentioned above, or they might be accessible to everyone for a charge. Ask around or head of the information centre to see what is on offer and how you can access the amenities.

Whether it’s a hair salon for a quick refresh, you get a massage, or your nails are done, why not pamper yourself if the option is there?

Watch A Movie

Most people travel with their mobile phones, and now, with airports having free wifi, it’s never been easier to watch a movie via a streaming service. Simply log onto the wifi and stream or download a movie or two you can watch.

Find somewhere comfy and out of the way you can sit, watch, and settle in to waste a few hours watching a movie. Or you might prefer binge-watching your favourite show, it’s entirely up to you, but this is an excellent way to help you pass the time waiting for your delayed flight.

Doom Scroll

Everyone does it, and while it’s not the most productive way to spend a delay at an airport, it can easily distract your clock-watching as you get lost in the endless stream of videos and connect on social media. Choose the platform you prefer and do what you do when you’re supposed to be sleeping or working. You don’t need to feel guilty this time because you have the time to do so.

Ask for An Upgrade

Maybe you want to try your luck to see if you can get a free or lower-cost upgrade. The airline will know if there is any room on the flight, so why not head to the desk and try your luck? If the idea of flying in a fort is enticing, especially after a long delay, then there is no harm in asking to see what is available because if you don’t, you can guarantee someone else is.

Catch Up on Work

Not exactly what you want to be doing, especially if you’re reading out on vacation, but now can be the perfect time to tie up some loose ends, take care of some paperwork, check your emails or get some work done if you’re self-employed or freelancing. It might not be what you want to do, but if you’re bored and struggling for ideas to keep you busy, why not get ahead of yourself? Then, once you board, your trip can begin with hopefully no interruptions.

Get Some Sleep

Not everyone can sleep in a bright, busy airport, but if you have downtime and none of the other suggestions take your fancy, settle down and catch some zzz’s. Some airports have sleeping amenities for you to hire for a few hours, while others will require you to find a place to get your head down. But if you can sleep in a public place, do it!


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