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Killing time at airports

Sunday 23 December 2012
Duty free shopping at Lamu Airport

Everyone has their gifts in life. One of mine is my ability to kill time in airports.

Practice makes perfect, I suppose. I'm well used to a three hour wait. Mostly this is at Knock, the airport nearest to my home in the west of Ireland. While public transport to the airport has gotten considerably better (there used to be a couple of random buses a day, which didn't really go anywhere and definitely didn't correspond to any flight times) it's not as frequent as a big city airport.

It's common to have at least a two hour wait. And if you miss your bus when you get back? You'll definitely have to wait two hours for the next.

I also like to leave a good amount of time before my flight is due to depart. I'm too nervy a person to arrive an hour before a flight. Too many things can go wrong. So if I have a choice between arriving ten minutes before the gate closes, or three hours previous, I'll opt for the long wait, every time.

I'm actually at Knock now. I was going to have a 2.5 hour wait, but now my flight is delayed by 40 minutes. But I'm not too bothered. There's free wifi, food in my belly and the promise of chocolate on the horizon.

If you're one of those people who HATES to wait, then feel free to use some of my helpful tips below to help the time fly.

1. Browse the shops
And I mean all the shops. If you're in a small airport like Knock, you're going to have to try all of the perfumes, sample all of the Benefit make up, and even resort to comparing the different kinds of whiskey fudge.

In a bigger airport like Gatwick, you might even run out of time with your browsing. With my old flight back to Knock, I always got a lift from my brother on his way to work, leaving 3 hours at the airport. Sometimes, it wasn't enough. The shopping at Gatwick is gooooood.

Wherever you are, ensure that you leave reeking of perfume with at least 7 shades of lip colour on the back of your hand.

2. Eat
But be sure to spread out your eating. Make a big decision out of it. Take your time. Browse all the menus at every place available.

3. Play the 'Lost' Game
When you really have exhausted every available option, it's time to resort to your imagination. Look around you. Who else is waiting for your flight? If your plane falls dramatically out of the sky, you'll be stuck on a desert island with these folks. So you need to make some choices, to stick ahead of the crowd. Who will you kill and eat? Who will you be stuck in a glamorous love triangle with? Who can you manipulate into building your shelter for you? Now is the time to make choices.

I've eaten. I've sampled all the perfumes, and used all of the Clinique testers. So now I have to look round the emptying departures hall, and play Lost. I've already spotted the couple who look super annoying, but just nerdy enough to have some know how when it comes to raft building. There's a very tall girl who will be helpful for tree climbing. I'm a bit stuck on the love triangle bit, but I do still have an hour and a half before my flight.

I'll get to work.

Edited to add - almost as soon as I clicked Publish, the announcement came that the flight is now delayed by 1.5 hours. So I'm now going to be here for 4 hours. I've exhausted all of my own advice, so the only option is a hasty option 4 - try to find somewhere to have a discrete nap.


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