Susan Michelle's Compass
Stuck Waiting At The Terminal?
By Susan Michelle
Dec 14, 2008 - 4:32:32 PM

LOS ANGELES You’re stuck in an airport, train station or other transportation hub, the wait to board can sometimes seem endless.  The mere effort of “killing time” can almost kill you, it seems, with anxiousness and boredom quickly seeping in, despite a multitude of options to keep you distracted.  You can eat, drink, shop, play cards, wander the terminal or sit in the Brookstone store’s massage chair for an hour.  Bring your portable electronics with you, and you can catch up on emails, make phone calls, write, surf the web, watch movies or play video games.


But what if you have all these activities at your fingertips, and you’re still bored to death?  How else can you pass the minutes until it’s finally time to go?  

First, don’t look at an extra window of time as something you must “kill”
look at the downtime as a wonderful opportunity to catch up on life.  Never have time to put collected business cards and scribbled phone numbers into your rolodex?  Bring them along, and input the information into your laptop while you sit.  Or, grab your pile of unsorted mail, and go through while you wait; bring the checkbook to pay bills, and stamps to mail them when you land.

Prefer to spend your time in vacation mode?  Some airports offer more relaxing ways to kill time.  In Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport, you can get some quick and affordable pampering with a manicure at Butter London or a foot or back massage at the Massage Bar.  At London’s Heathrow airport, you can nap for 15-90 minutes in a MetroNap Energy Pod, or rent a 10 foot-square full bedroom for four hours at the airport’s Yotel.  And, at Amsterdam’s Airport Schiphol, you can not only peruse world-class art at the Rijksmuseum art museum annex, but also gamble at the airport casino, and even get married between flights!

What if you can’t leave your gate because your plane/train/boat could start boarding any minute?  Get to know your fellow passengers!  Strike up a conversation with a stranger.  Break open your bottle of duty-free liquor.  Start a game of Truth or Dare, 20 Questions, or I Spy.  Or bring along some old-school, travel-size games to play, like Checkers, Uno or Go Fish.  

If you’re still feeling stressed, rushed, tired and overburdened as the minutes tick by, practice some random acts of kindness on others who may be feeling the same.  If you see someone struggling with too many bags, offer to carry one.  Buy a stack of newspapers and hand them out to other folks stuck waiting.  Give up that outlet you’re hogging for someone else who needs to recharge. Even better, give your primo seat assignment to a pregnant passenger.  Hopefully, your actions will be received with glowing appreciation rather than fear you’re doing something terrorist-related.  

However you pass the time, use it wisely.  So that when you finally board for who-knows-where, at least your time will have been well-spent, rather than just something killed.

About the Author: A former Hollywood producer and now 2nd-generation travel professional, Susan Michelle travels the planet as the “face” of the fashion-forward Compass travel lifestyle brand. 


© Copyright 2007 by