When booking our airline tickets, the first thing that any basic traveler like us does is to look for the cheapest flights! We congratulate ourselves on finding that amazing deal and booking that last seat available only to realize that it often comes with its own extra baggage, yes, the ludicrous transit times.
I am sure we all have been in such situations. Whether it is the regular flight connection times or the missed/delayed connection, even for seasoned travelers, a transit at any airport can take the fun out of the impending vacation. During my last trip to South Africa, I had the (cough) fortune of experiencing a 14 hour layover in Frankfurt. So, I had ample time in hand to look at the life of an in-transit traveler up close.
The hope – Obviously, catching up on dear sleep. What better a time to finally lie down and catch up on those sleep deprived non-vacation days that you spent either working on a report or binge-watching Netflix. Also, no one sleeps early while on vacation, so better stock up on the sleep already!
The reality– You might have to end up walking or even racing with a fellow traveler from one end of the terminal to another in the hunt for that elusive couch, err chair!
The hope – Reading that book that you have been planning on completing for the past one year.
The reality– God forbid, if you are not old school, and rely on a Kindle/iPad or your smart phone for all your reading, you are doomed! You will be faced with the uphill quest of finding a working charging point which, let’s face it, is pretty much like finding Narnia! There is also the added headache of finding adapters for cross-continent travelers and in this process you also, as is always, end up giving up on your comfortable sleeping couch/chair!
The hope – The excitement of finding the (non-existent) free Wi-Fi! It’s something that most of us can’t live without these days! Plus, you need to update your Facebook status as ‘officially’ on vacation, else it is as good as never happened!
The reality – The few times, you do get lucky with the Wi-Fi, err….the 30 minutes free one, most of it goes in just trying to get that elusive one-time password. What happens eventually is that you end up playing Fruit Ninja or Candy Crush a zillion times on your phone; until you fail to progress because you need to send an invite to a Facebook friend to do so. Oh, the horror ! your phone/iPad dies again and off you go to charge it!
The hope – A new Gastronomical experience! OK, who are we fooling! It’s more of a search for the least crowded place (with free Wi-Fi obviously) to just sit, mindlessly eat and drink, watching others happily boarding their flights. At least, you are content that the food was warm and quick!
The reality – The above mentioned calorie loss you managed to get in earlier while walking up and down for a charging point, goes down the drain! There starts the holiday weight gain, even before the start of the said holiday.
The hope – Indulging in duty-free shopping for a noble cause; where you convince yourselves that you do need a gazillion new perfumes and whatnot! You congratulate yourself on finding great gifts or friends and family back home. The noble cause here being the necessity to kill the infinite time in your hand for which your wallet will gladly volunteer as tribute!
The reality – Extra baggage charges and probably extra duty when you do return home with the goods because in your glee you forgot the duty-free limit! Thankfully this has never happened to us!
The hope – Starting a new hobby. The one that best works for us to pass time in airports is ‘people watching’! Our creative juices overflow by just watching people thinking about who they are, where they are from, what they do for a living, yada yada – you get the drift! Whether it’s the angry lady yelling on the phone or the sullen teenager sitting in the corner, there’s always a story to tell. It becomes the perfect game when your co-travelers chime in with their opinions!
The reality – Might get a bit repetitive after a bit! Also, people may judge you for being really weird. So pick your poison, judge or be judged! That’s how this game works anyways, it’s contagious!
Whether it is just a 2 hours or a 20 hour transit, a layover is never the first choice! But if you are lucky and you do manage to find a pass-time, be sure to thank your stars and hope it interests you till you board! May the force be with you!
All gifs and photos courtesy : Tumblr and Google