Layovers – How to Enjoy Them and How to Avoid Them

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Despite the fact that modern travelers can arm themselves with a dizzying array of flight-finding applications and websites, sometimes a layover is unavoidable. While many travelers are willing to pay the extra price for a direct flight, sometimes the only way to get from point A to point B is to spend six hours waiting around at point C. However, a long layover doesn’t have to be a miserable experience.

If you have already built a layover into your trip, it’s a good idea to research available amenities ahead of time. Many of the world’s biggest airline hubs offer excellent ways to explore nearby cities while waiting for your next flight. For example, the tour desk at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is particularly famous for its excellent layover tours, while the airport in Minneapolis-St. Paul offers a quick rail ride to the Mall of America.

Those with long layovers can grab a hotel room for a comfortable nap, but at some of the busiest airports, short-stay hotels are becoming increasingly popular, with rooms rented out by the hour to fit any schedule. If you have a shorter layover, there are many ways to make it productive and fun. Many people enjoy searching out public art or getting in a light cardio workout by powerwalking through the terminal.

While it’s possible to have a good time during a layover, most travelers would prefer to avoid one. If you have to make a connection, try to obtain a seat near the front of the plane. If seated in the rear, consider asking a flight attendant for help getting off the plane when it lands. Those who know they’ll have a tight connection should grab a map of the airport before departing so they can get moving quickly. Finally, in the event of a missed flight, your first step should be to call your airline, which will reschedule you for free if the making the flight was impossible or unlikely. Don’t be afraid to ask for some extra compensation. It’s often an easy way to get a voucher or seat upgrade.

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