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So, now that you’ve been a good little girl or boy and arrived at the airport hours before your flight, you’ll need something to do while waiting around.

If you’ve decided that you aren’t in a social mood and want to play by yourself, here are some ideas.

Airline Lounges

For those who travel frequently and haven’t done so yet, I strongly recommend a membership to a courtesy lounge. Here you can find food and drinks, a place to plug in the laptop and get on the internet or use PC provided, and a (usually) much quieter, calmer atmosphere than the concourse. There is one drawback – some rooms get over-crowded at peak times – i.e. Friday afternoons. My favorite lounge is Delta’s on Concourse E of Hartsfield. If you go there look for me. I’ll be the businesswoman with the black laptop carrier.

United and Delta share rooms – if you have a Red Carpet membership and are flying on a Delta ticket, you can use the Delta rooms, and vice-versa. I’m sure there are similar arrangements among other airlines. When you buy your membership, take this into consideration and also consider which airlines and airports you spend the most time in. Courtesy lounges are best at hubs for the airline that controls the hub. For example, there are good Delta rooms in Atlanta and good Northwest rooms in Detroit. Below is a list of the courtesy lounges I’ve visited so far and their advantages.

  • Delta Crown Rooms: Free alcoholic drinks. Very limited snacks – typically just snack mix. Sometimes they have fruit (best bananas are in the Birmingham one!). Also, the water is filtered and juices are available. Trend that I created: Baileys on the rocks (really – I started getting it every week in Hartsfield and the bartender at first said “No one ever orders that”. Six months later people were ordering it not only in Hartsfield but in a lot of other airports too! I’m almost famous ;)
  • United Red Carpet Rooms: Good food. Alcoholic drinks must be paid for. The United room on Concourse C in O’Hare has it’s own private smoking lounge. There are people who meet here every Friday afternoon – great folks.
  • Northwest: Really good food. Be sure to try the chocolate-chocolate chip cookies. Breakfast is also one of my favorites here. Alcoholic drinks are free.

Entertain Yourself With Electronic Things

If you have a PDA, you’re in such luck!! Before you go to the airport, download (buy) some good games and books. I’ve been reading from my PDA for a while now and really enjoy it. It’s so much lighter than carrying a book.

You can get Palm games at a variety of sites including http://palmcomputing.palmgear.com. My favorite game is at http://dopewars.cjb.net.

You can get Palm books at www.peanutpress.com.

(If you know where to get games and books for other formats, please /msg me.)

If you have a cell phone, you can of course call people and bother them. If you have a laptop you can do work (oh yeah – that’s entertaining!).

Entertain Yourself With Others

Eavesdropping on conversations around you can be interesting. However, after a few years you’ll discover a strange thing: There are actually only a few conversations in airports and these are repeated over and over – only the participants change.

Speak another language. Whenever you buy something or meet someone (except airline staff and security personnel) speak another language. It can be a foreign language you know, or an entirely new language that you just make up on the spot. See if you can buy different things (a cup of coffee, candy bar, etc.) this way.

Be nice to every person you meet, but especially nice to people who appear middle-eastern or Arabic. Saying that all people of a certain race or religion are responsible for the attacks is as silly as saying all Christians are responsible for the bombing of the Fed building in Oklahoma City. Middle-easterners are having a hard time now – I just heard of two shot in drive-bys here alone today. So be nice.

People watch. I can’t explain it – I’ve personally never been entertained by watching people unless they are particularly brainless and doing something stupid.

Be brainless and do something stupid. Trip over your own feet every other step. Sing a song as you walk along. Fall out of your chair a few times. Pretend that whatever you are holding is covered in oil. Keep answering a pay phone (as if you hear it ringing). Whatever – it’ll entertain the people who are watching you.

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