Five things you must do while waiting for plane

There is a debate in my family over how early to get to the airport. Some family members like to be there four hours before a flight. Not me! I try to balance between spending the least amount of time waiting with having adequate time if something goes wrong. Even with my routines aimed at minimising every second I spend at airports, I still spend way too long waiting for planes! I reckon I have spent close to fifty days of my life waiting for planes at 212 airports around the globe! I have not counted how many train stations I have waited in!

Don’t get me wrong! Airports are fascinating places! Apart from satisfying my inner geek with plane watching, there is the spectacle of people watching, the shops and the interesting public art.

Of course, airports also provide the opportunity to make uninterrupted calls, read a book or work is a boon! Use your waiting time wisely. There are five musts I insist on whilst waiting for a plane:

    1. I charge my devices- there is no guarantee your plane (or train) will have power outlets or that those outlets will be working
    2. Go to the Lavatory- it is bigger and usually cleaner than the one on your plane-always bemuses me how many people head straight to the plane’s facilities disrupting boarding flows. Why did they not “do their” business on the ground? Were they too nervous?
    3. Have documentation ready for boarding- fumbling for a boarding pass and/or passport at the top of the line is irritating and disrespectful. I am very OCD about this! IMG_3233
    4. Get some exercise- I have a discreet stretch and a good walk or if in Singapore, you may want to ride the giant slide! 
    5. Check in with your loved ones – I am away too much so connecting can be really important. Fellow travellers, please avoid your loud domestic argument or long drawn out Hollywood farewell scenes-you have an audience!

What are your waiting musts?


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  1. 6. Check if the flight is overbooked and if the gate agents are/will be looking for volunteers. Simultaneously open Kayak/ITA/airline’s app/other app and check for an alternative that will suit you and be ready to offer it to the gate agent.

  2. Check to see if the inbound aircraft that I’ll be using is on time. If not, I start calling to line up for alternate flights.

  3. About using the facilities on the plane rather than on the ground:

    Some of us have tight connections and do not have time between flights for the luxury of using a ground based lav.

    Remember: When nature calls, it is usually collect.

  4. Seriously??!! Are any of these not self-evident?

    Here’s what I do:

    (1) Refill my disposable plastic water bottle (which I drank on way to airport and brought empty through security). Even in F you never know when you will get a beverage.

    (2) Download latest news into my news apps (NYT, WashPost, Slate, etc.)

    (3) Download latest emails including junk mail for all my accounts. Flight time is an excellent time to review and delete email

    (4) Buy food & Snacks if I am flying in economy or late evening flights where snacks are mediocre

  5. Thanks for your comments. No, after many years in travel, I have learnt that nothing is self evident to anyone and let us all stop pretending that it is! If everything was self evident, we would not have people trying to open exit doors on aeroplanes to get fresh air, sitting in the wrong seat, booking tickets to Sydney, Nova Scotia instead of Sydney, Australia, packing their pills in their checked luggage and trying to carry 50kilograms of luggage onto a flight.

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