Travel Musings

Culture Fiend’s 12 Tips for Surviving 12 Hours in an Airport

It’s even more fun than it sounds.

By Laura Dannen March 15, 2011

This guy’s a layover pro.

I had the privilege of spending 12 hours in Newark International Airport yesterday, which some people call a nasty layover, but I like to call "My ride to the airport lost a rear wheel, and if you miss the Alaska Airlines 7:25am flight out, the next one isn’t until 6:30pm."

In the spirit of Tina Fey’s Lessons from Late Night in the new New Yorker (one of four full magazines I read yesterday), I offer 12 tips for surviving 12 hours in an airport sans laptop, iPad, Kindle, or companion.

Survival Guide
1. Breakfast burritos made in a microwave are, in fact, disgusting. They make Wendy’s look organic.
2. If you ask nicely—and look like you haven’t slept in a week—the receptionist at the Delta Sky Lounge will let you take a nap in the corner. Even if you’re not flying Delta.
3. Finding an abandoned New York Times is pure gold. Finding an US Weekly is platinum.
4. Switch up bathrooms. If you go to the same one all day, you’ll actually be able to watch it get dirtier.
5. Phone calls do pass the time, but your grandma doesn’t want to hear from you before she’s had coffee.
6. FOX news is louder than CNN. Avoid napping near a TV when Ainsley Earhardt is shrilling the news.
7. Don’t wait to get your shoes shined. Even the shoeshiner’s work day ends at some point, and it’s around 1pm.
8. You can leave your suitcase unattended for about 45 seconds before someone starts sniffing it.
9. Resist the temptation to buy Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love, because being Committed is not as tantalizing as Italian gastroporn.
10. No matter how desperately you want to death-stare the TSA agent who winces and says, "Oooh, that’s not hot," when he sees the departure time on your boarding pass, resist that urge, too.
11. Don’t wait 11 of the 12 hours to ask the security guard if you can leave the airport. You can. You just have to go through security again. That’s it.
12. Beer.

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