No matter if you’re at Heathrow Airport or Hawaii’s Airport, getting delayed in an airport is extremely frustrating, particularly when you’re waiting to come home after a long holiday. While it may seem like there’s not a lot you can do other than sit and wait for your plane to arrive, many activities can help you pass the time.

Catch up on work

More and more people are working remotely, and being delayed in an airport with nothing to do is the perfect opportunity to catch up on some work. If you’re on your way to your destination, these couple of hours allow you to tie up any loose ends you forgot before you left. If you’re on your way back from your trip, it gives you that head start on catching up with everything you’ve missed, so the first day back isn’t so daunting.

Visit Duty Free 

A duty-free shop is a shop that’s exempt from certain taxes specific to that country. Zero taxes means you can find named brands at a much cheaper rate than elsewhere in the country. Depending on the airport’s size, there are often lots of things to buy, including alcohol, clothing, perfume, and much more! Wandering through the duty-free is a great way to pass the time, and it allows you to pick up any last-minute items you’d like for your holiday or some last-minute gifts for people if you’re on your way home.

Researching your trip

Another way to take advantage of this extra time is by researching and planning your trip in more detail. You can look at all the attractions and sightseeing stops you’d like to visit while you’re there and plan to do them on certain days. The advantage of this is that it not only helps you pass the time but also gets you even more excited to get away! Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of knowing exactly what you’re going to do when you get there, so you won’t miss out on all the important things you want to see.

Watch a Movie or listen to a Podcast 

Airport delays can often last hours, the perfect time to watch a film, catch up on a couple of TV shows, or listen to a podcast. Delays such as these are why you should always bring your phone and a pair of headphones to the airport, as watching a movie will make the time fly. Most airports will offer free WiFi so you can stream online. Still, it’s always recommended to download them before you reach the airport to reduce buffering and increase the quality.

Play Card Games

Playing card games can make time pass quickly. There are several card games one can play, and most are simple to play. One could play single-player games such as solitaire, or easy multiplayer games like go fish, hearts, or rummy with others. It’s surprising how quickly time flies after a few games! Then come the more traditional casino-like games such as blackjack, baccarat and poker, games which you could play with your friends. However, solo travellers are going to have to play these at a mobile online casino if they want to play such games. Whether it’s at a live table or not is going to be completely up to them.

Enjoy some good food

The state of restaurants in airports has improved dramatically over the past few years. Previously, you’d be lucky to get a half-decent fast food chain. Airports now have a selection of excellent restaurants where you can order delicious food while you wait for your plane. Getting breakfast, lunch, or dinner while your plane is delayed is often a great idea, as time always seems to go quicker when you’re enjoying great food. Before you know it, it’ll be time to board your plane.

Buy a book 

As well as a great selection of restaurants, you’ll often find a wide selection of books available at one of the many stores in airports. There’s nothing like a good book to kill a few hours; find a book appealing to you, find a comfy chair, and settle in for a while. The great thing about airports is the sheer number of books they have on offer – most people have to wait a couple of hours for their flight once they arrive, so they know that people will be looking for ways to pass the time. If all else fails, there are millions of ebook options on Amazon that you can read directly from your phone.


If reading a book doesn’t sound appealing, why not try writing? Starting a journal for your holiday or recounting all the best bits from the holiday you’ve just had is a great way to preserve the memories for the future. After a few years, you’ll find the journal again and reflect on all the fantastic times you had and all the wonderful things you did while you were away. Plus, writing about your holiday will help put your delay in perspective and make you realise that while it’s annoying, there are plenty of worse places to be!

Look at airport art 

Most airports are massive places with lots to see and do. They often have art or interesting pieces, such as classic cars or musical instruments, for you to see and enjoy. If you’re not one for art, many airports have observation decks where you can see the planes landing and taking off. When you’re delayed, it’s easy to become stressed and worried. So, taking some time to appreciate art or watch the planes go by can help put things in perspective and help you relax.


While we hope it never happens to you, you’ll inevitably run into delays while waiting for a flight at the airport. However, after reading this article, you’ll know that there are plenty of ways to pass the time – so hopefully, your next delay will be stimulating and relaxing!