Next time the board reads “delayed”, take advantage of these tips on how to kill those spare airport hours…
Regardless of whether you like to get to the gate about five hours early or you are one of those people who slides into their seat seconds after last call, there’s no amount of prep that can help you dodge the dreaded airport delay.
So how best to spend those “bonus” hours?
Well, you could spend them angrily berating the nearest bored-looking staff member, or you could use them to make the most of all the terminal has to offer.
To help you with some pointers, we spoke to a host of frequent flyers to find out how they kill transit time like a pro…
1. Plan your snacks
If you’ve got time to play with, take a cue from Natalia Ribbe (founder of Ladies Of Restaurants) and properly map out your plane snacking.
“My parents live in Florida, so I spend a lot of time on planes going to see them,” says Natalia.
“For a little aperitivo snack on the plane, I will usually reach for some kind of salt & vinegar crisp.”
“Then if there is an M&S in the terminal, they do a little sun-blushed tomato and mozzarella that goes really well with a glass of wine.”
“For snacking in front of the movie, you’ll want to go classic with a bag of Haribo – save some for landing when your ears are popping.”
“Then because the breakfast on planes isn’t always the best, I usually pack a Pret croissant for good measure.”
2. Build a care package for your skin
We all know that air travel can play havoc with your complexion, which is why Virgin Atlantic’s Rebecca Creer recommends using airport time to do some skincare prep.
“First off, I always exfoliate the night before a flight,” says Rebecca, “as removing dead skin cells allows hydrating skincare products to work more effectively.”
“Then at the airport, invest in a good moisturiser. You’ll need to keep reapplying throughout the flight to save your skin from becoming dehydrated.”
“I also pick up lip balm or Vaseline – it’s obviously good for your lips, but you can also use on your fingernails to keep them soft and hydrated.”
If you’re looking to get an instant boost of hydration, head to the M.A.C airport store and check out the Fix+ Duo kit - a pair of 100ml bottles of the iconic Prep + Prime Fix+ setting spray, perfect for keeping your skin hydrated at 30,000 feet.
It’s one of the new range of Travel Exclusive kits, grab-and-go sets of M.A.C’s best-selling products that also land you savings of up to 15%.
3. Meet new people
Instead of staring furiously at the board, why not take the time to make some new connections?
“Having spent many years in airports on layovers with just my laptop as company, I realised that this empty time would be better spent meeting like-minded people,” says entrepreneur Bayram Annakov.
He went on to create App in the Air, which allows users to connect with fellow app-using travelers who are in their same flight, departure or arrival airport.
“We’ve heard numerous anecdotes about users grabbing lunch at JFK, or sharing a cab into Manhattan after a flight, as well as some more flirty connections,” says Annakov.
Holiday romance incoming! Or at least, someone to moan about the delay with.
4. Dial up your glam
Award-winning makeup artist Stacey Whittaker uses airport downtime to brush up on her beauty regime.
“I often have to travel for work commitments and have actually found lots of my favourite beauty treats at the airport.”
“The counters are often quieter than the flagship stores, so you have a chance to get more in-depth advice from the assistants.”
“I also get my makeup done in the airport when I have time.”
“You feel a million dollars as you step off the plane at your destination, particularly if you’re going straight out.”
You can enjoy a full menu of makeup treatments, lasting five, 10 or 20 minutes at any of M.A.C’s airport outlets.
Then grab a Travel Exclusive set like the Powder Kiss lipstick trio for some last-minute touch-ups once you land.
5. Hit the lounge
Despite what you might have assumed, you don’t need to be a Kardashian to get lounge access.
In fact, you don’t even need to take that much of a hit in the purse.
“Some of the best lounges I’ve experienced have been in UK airports and there are plenty to choose from,” says Nicky Kelvin of The Points Guy UK.
“There are several independent lounge pass programs that will get you access, but the largest is Priority Pass, which boasts more than 1,200 lounges around the world.”
“Annual memberships start from just £69, depending on how much access you want.”
“Alternatively, sign up for a Platinum Card from AMEX and they’ll offer you membership for free.”
Squint, and you could be on holiday already.
Designed to make the journey as glam as the destination, M.A.C’s Travel Exclusive packs are exclusively available at M.A.C airport stores including Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, offering a saving of up to 15%. Want to save time? Simply reserve your favourite kits online and collect them at the airport before you fly.