It’s every traveler’s worst nightmare. It feels like 3am but it’s midday. You’re dragging yourself through a hot, crowded airport which is neither your holiday destination nor home: you’re in transit. Perhaps it’s a long flight, or a much cheaper fare, but transiting is virtually unavoidable on longhaul flights these days. But in reality, that stopovers don’t need to be half as miserable and stressful as they’re made out to be. With a bit of forward thinking and planning, you can transform the concrete hell-hole that is an airport into a tranquil haven of relaxation.
Firstly, consider where to stop off. Often airlines’ fares are roughly the same, but airlines which are based at nice airports can really make the journey that bit more bearable. The World Airline Awards voted the following airports as their top 5 for transit experience. They are shown along with the longhaul airlines that use it as their hub:
|1||Incheon International (Korean Air, Asiana Airlines)|
|2||Singapore Changi (Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, JetStar Asia)|
|3||Hong Kong (Chek Lap Kok) (Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines)|
|4||Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines, ANA)|
|5||Tokyo Haneda (Japan Airlines, ANA)|
It actually amazes me that they’re all Asian. I guess they just get it right!
Make sure to book your flights so that you stop for an appropriate amount of time. If you’re planning on staying in the airport and not exploring your stopover destination, I’d recommend 3-5 hours in transit. This gives you enough time to recharge your batteries and stretch your legs between flight sectors.
Especially for the longer stopovers, consider looking for an airport lounge. Here, you will be able to sit back and relax in a secluded area away from the chaos outside. I’d say it’s really worth the entry fee in times like this. Most lounges provide WiFi, food & drink, and reading material, some even offering beds and showers. I recommend that you do some research beforehand to find one that best suits your needs. The LoungeBuddy app is especially useful for looking at the amenities of lounges. In fact, they’ve offered $10 off your first lounge visit with the code airlineguy.
Lounge grub beats airplane grub most of the time!
As well as location, timing is important. I generally recommend transiting in what feels like daytime. This way you will not fall asleep at the airport, which could wreak even more havoc with your jet-lag, not to mention running the risk of sleeping through your flight’s departure. I did an article on other ways to avoid jetlag here.
The next time you find yourself stopping over en route, you can enjoy breezing through the airport, exuding the aura of the stress-free, experienced travel-hacker that you are!
Do you have any tips for improving your transit experience?
Let us know down below!