Stuck At Heathrow Airport – A long airport layover can be a pain no matter the country, the airport or how prepared you are.
Of course some airports are better than others when it comes to finding ways to entertain yourself for 8 hours, 12 or more.
Heathrow Airport is just a few miles away from Central London, it’s location, amenities, activities and possibilities certainly take the win.
Heathrow airport hotels offer you many options to catch up on your sleep, get going with your work or just have a place to relax.
The airport’s fantastic location also makes it possible to take a quick day trip to do some exploring on extra long layovers.
Ideas to do when stuck at Heathrow Airport
It also boasts excellent duty free shops where you can pick up perfumes, liquor, cosmetics and more at enviable prices.
With about 85 stores to shop, shopaholics won’t be bored.
Shop ‘til you drop
If it wasn’t already an airport, Heathrow could be one of London’s glitziest shopping centers.
Walk the bookstores, pick up your souvenirs and, if your budget allows it, visit some designer labels like Alexander McQueen or Zara.
Heathrow is also a great place to relax or indulge. Journey to Terminal 5 and wander through T5 Gallery to view a remarkable art collection.
This calm and reflective place is the perfect spot to gather during a hectic day of travel.
Spas are located in several of the terminals, with services like massages, manicures and professional makeup application being widely available.
You can also perk up your shoes with an old fashioned shoeshine!
Go on a whirlwind tour of London
There is so much to do and see in London!
No matter if you have 40 minutes or 3 hours, there are so many available tours that will take you through Central London.
Visit historic landmarks such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square or even the area of Windsor.
The options are endless and you can even venture out on your own if you’re brave enough to take a train into Paddington Station or the Underground.
Grab a bite to eat at Heathrow
Sitting at an airport café or restaurant is a great way to spend time during a layover.
Heathrow airport has many great options that also offer fun people watching.
Curb your hunger by visiting eateries that specialize in everything from gourmet coffees to upscale seafood.
You can grab a quick bit to go, dine in style, feed the family or sip a good Guinness at a busy pub.
an authentic British experience, try bangers and mash or fish and chips at the Dining Street Restaurant.
Have time to venture out for some great food? Head to “Little India” for some authentic Indian food.
Treat the kids
Hanging about an airport with children can be incredible stressful for the entire family.
Other than booking a local hotel, parents usually have few options to keep kids entertained during a long layover.
Heathrow Airport is just a jump away from top amusement parks such as Thorpe Park and Legoland.
Thorpe Park is packed with thrill rides while Legoland offers plenty of entertainment for little ones and big kids alike.
Whether you stay at the airport or choose to venture farther afield, Heathrow’s perfect location and many transportation options makes it easy to enjoy even the longest of layovers.
Stuck in the airport distractions
You’re heading to distant lands of creeping jungles and mysterious shanty villages.
You’ll head there and trek through wet marshlands, endless rain forests and stunning mountain ranges.
But not yet – because you’re trapped in an airport.
Indeed, if you kick around an airport for long enough, you’ll start feeling unsettled.
The clean, clinical corridors; ghostly figures chugging coffee in a percolated daze; baggage spinning round and round the metal carousels – if there’s anything more likely to put a dampener on your holiday, it’s an airport.
But there are plenty of ways to make your time at the terminal fun – you just need to arrive prepared.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with a few ways for you to make your airport stay enjoyable.
Take a look and enjoy.
Fun Things to Do When Stuck At Heathrow Airport
Trying to find a parking spot in an airport is like negotiating Daedalus’ maze.
You could drive almost endlessly and still struggle to park your car.
Not to mention that you’ll have to park so far from your terminal that your trek to the airport will become a Lord of the Rings-style quest.
But the cream of the airport crop can offer you airport meet and greet services that will lighten your load.
These services will pick up your car at the terminal, and drive it to a safe location until your return.
Just imagine being able to head straight to your departure area without the hassle of parking.
It’s an airport user’s dream.
Plug and play
You’ve come prepared – you boot up your laptop and get started on your latest World of Warcraft adventure.
But what’s this?
Your battery indicator is flashing and there’s no plug in sight.
And then, with a phutting noise, the screen dies.
Before you lounge in your terminal, find a seat close to a plug socket.
These are the most prestigious chairs in the departure lounge, so guard yours like a dragon guards gold.
If you’ll be setting up camp in international airports, invest in some universal adapters.
That way, your precious laptop will always have some juice.
Stuck in the Airport VIP Lounge
If you choose the right airport, you don’t have to take root in a dodgy departure lounge.
For a small fee, you can upgrade your time to gain a VIP experience.
What will the extra pennies get you?
A luxury lounge, free drinks and snacks, Wi-Fi, a big-screen telly and even gaming systems to keep your kids quiet – it’s so luxurious, you won’t even want to board your flight.
Tips for Stress Free Air Travel
When going on a trip or on vacation, you always have a lot to organize and to remember.
This applies to all methods of travel – car journeys, bus trips and train rides – but there’s nothing more stressful than flying.
With the check-in, strict hand luggage requirements, security checks, passport control, navigating the airport and ensuring that you don’t miss your flight, flying can be stressful at the best of times.
Here are just a few tips on how to make the whole flying thing a little easier…
Check-in online before you get to the airport
Most airlines now let you check-in online, allowing you to print off your boarding pass at home or to have it sent to your smart phone.
Checking-in online is simple and straight forward, and it means that you no longer have to queue at the check-in desk or have to get to the airport super early.
If you want to check-in hold luggage, typically airlines will have a baggage drop-off where you can simply drop-off your case.
Nevertheless, you should be at the airport about 2 hours before take-off to be well relaxed.
Try to pack as light as possible and be realistic about what you will and won’t actually need on your trip.
It can be tempting to pack for all possible occasions and weather eventualities but in those cases, you’re not going to use half of what you’re carrying.
If you’re flying budget and your trip is only for a short period, try sticking to just taking hand luggage.
This will save you having to pay to check-in luggage and save you the hassle of having to check it in and then wait to collect it at baggage reclaim – and you won’t have to worry about lost luggage!
If you do have to check baggage in, then keep your hand-luggage to a minimum, using a smaller bag you can fit under your seat.
This will save you the stress of fighting for space in the overhead lockers for a larger bag and from having to carry around excessive luggage to the gate.
However, trying to travel carry-on can sometimes turn out being more stressful than simply checking in your luggage, since you will be charged a hefty fee if you’re not allowed to bring your bags as carry-on.
The best way to stop worrying is to buy an approved “carry-on sized bag” so you know the measurements are correct, and bring a digital luggage scale with you so you can make sure your bag weighs under the maximum limit.
Arrange airport transfers before you fly
The third important step towards a stress free and long awaited travel is the airport transfer.
For most flyers, the biggest concern is whether they will arrive get to the airport on time to catch their flight and whether they’ve given themselves enough time.
Particularly when you’re relying on public transport, you have the added pressure of having to catch the bus or train in question on time to reach the airport in a timely manner.
To save you this added stress, a good option is to opt for a private airport transfer service like the one from Blacklane.
That way you can relax knowing that you will be picked up on-time, that you don’t have to worry about carrying all your luggage and that you can leave your driver to navigate you directly to the airport in the comfort of a luxury vehicle.
In the same way, this also applies to your onward journey once you’ve landed at the airport and want to reach your desired destination.
Having these three essentials in mind, there is nothing keeping you from exactly what a nice trip should be – a stress-free and relaxing vacation.
How to Survive Being Stuck at the Airport
Flying isn’t a rare opportunity like it used to, especially thanks to all the special deals and discounts you can get, coupons or other sources that make it more affordable than ever.
However, sometimes, for reasons out of our sphere of control and power, our journey might go not the way we wanted it to and we may find ourselves stranded at the airport for hours or even days.
If that happens, how do you survive the ordeal?
Do you get stressed about it, complain about it for the entire period and start planning to sue somebody or start a boycott campaign?
Before all that you will have to manage to stay alive and well for some period and not bore yourself to death, though.
So, how do you survive the possible absence of modern amenities?
Here are a few helpful tips from somebody with good experience:
Curve out your territory
Can you sit down on an airport waiting chair for two days?
Therefore, stake out your territory for the next few days you’re going to be stranded.
And do it early enough!
Start setting up plenty of padding down on a strategic corner of the floor- it’s going to be your “home” for the next few days.
Trust me, you’re going to need a great deal of the scarce comfort to survive this.
Lay down your scarfs, hats, even some of the pants you’re wearing to create a temporal bed space.
And remember to stay as close to a power outlet as possible – who who knows, you could even meet a potential date as his or her iPad gets dry and they start coming for some extra power from your “power-corner kingdom”!
Make some friends and acquaintances
This one is connected in a way to the point above, and it’s not to be taken lightly.
When you’re at a strategic position like near a power outlet, you’ll be better placed to make lots of new friends and acquaintances.
Then you can while time away by discussing what would possibly happen in the next season of Game of Thrones or why the production of Sons of Anarchy should never have ended!
You could also discuss some politics, for instance, about the latest developments in North Korea and the nuclear-armed Indian Subcontinent.
And while at it, don’t forget to request the cute Eastern European damsel seated across you for her phone number!
Jot down something about your travel escapades
Stuck in the airport VIP lounge
Even if you’re not a travel blogger, you could make good use of the current downtime to start documenting some of your globe-trotting adventures in the past few years.
Remember that dream you had five years ago of becoming a part-time writer?
This is the time to start practicing!
Maybe you can even make some money out of it.
That wild night in Hong Kong?
That near-death experience with Bushmen in the jungles of Papua New Guinea?
Trust me, somebody will love to hear about it somewhere.
Maybe it’s time you had your own travel blog, by the way!
Try and find other innovative ways to pass the time or revive older past-times
Apart from the above three ways of whiling away time while stuck at the airport, other tips include:
Playing airport gourmet
Use your own meal budget to collect random items from airport food services and put together a culinary airport masterpiece.
Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a thing or two about the airport and the local cuisine as well.
Every day we learn something new.
Whip out your deck of cards
When is the last time you played a good game that wasn’t digital?
Whip out that deck of cards stuck in your backpack and have some quality time with your friends or even new acquaintances!
Finally, don’t forget to make elaborate plans for stocking supplies, you never know what can happen.
Try to avoid lots of airport food and get some exercise from time to time.
All in all, you are going to have plenty of free time, so better find something to do that you can spend hours on and be passionate about.
And pray your next airport to get stuck in to be Hong Kong International Airport – a 4D theater, a Playstation getaway, and an aviation discovery center where you experience virtual airplane flying in a cockpit simulator are some of the packages here!