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Things to do in Airports While Your Flight is Delayed

Tuesday 25th October 2011

Airports in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are going to be effected by strikes called by customs and border officials on Thursday, according to reports in the Australian Press. International travellers will need to be prepared for queues and long waits for their departures and arrivals to be processed. To help you, we have come up with a list of things to do in airports whilst waiting for flights or queues to die down:

  • Obviously there are boring things that you are supposed to do - shop for pointless things that you will inevitably lose or break (sunglasses, scarves, watches), waste money on overpriced snacks, read trashy paperbacks. But if you don't want to spend any money, or add to the weight of your luggage, the best thing you can do is to find a couple of seats and catch some ZZZs. The obvious thing is not to fall asleep anywhere you may get robbed, or so far away from your departure gate that you miss your flight. Sleeping in airports in particularly useful if you are a) flying long haul but don't sleep well on the plane or b) are so sick of your travelling companions you can't be bothered speaking to them.
  • Use any free wifi to check up on Gapwork's jobs pages to find out about latest backpacker jobs and gap year work abroad opportunities.
  • Swot up on your language skills. It's surprising how much seeps into your brain when you are really bored, and the alternative to learning something is watching the news in a foreign language over and over again. Getting a language course on your iPod or having a phrasebook handy is a constructive use of time. Alternatively, if you can't be bothered, you could always...
  • ...play pointless games which involve people watching. Totty-spotting is an old favourite, as is tosser-spotting, or even "spot the person who you would least like to be sat next to on a long haul flight" and then cry a little when you get on the plane and realise you are actually sat next to them.
  • See how much stuff you can blag for free. Discarded magazines, samples and tasters from the "authentic taste of..." part of the duty free shop, perfume samples, make up samples, you never know when it may come in handy. 
  • If you haven't checked your luggage in, you can play "who can put on the most items from their rucksack/case in the shortest amount of time." Theoretically once you have put everything on, you have made lots of space in your baggage for all the freebies you've collected.
  • Impress your friends with comedy travellator competitions. There is something inherently funny about travellators, which only becomes more amusing when you and your travel companions start messing about on them. Try travellator ballet, travellator backward races or even travellator jousting. In our experience however airport security take a rather dim view of such antics.

So if you are unfortunate enough to be stuck in an airport waiting for a flight, be sure to have some back up plans for things to do while you are waiting. Keep in touch with your airline to find out about possible delays in Australia destination airports.