Last Updated on October 21, 2020
Travelers know that they will be stuck at the airport for at least a couple of hours. That’s the best-case scenario – when you arrive early for your flight. In case you have to stopover and wait for your connecting flight, that period can extend to several hours.
Airports know this and try to take advantage of the situation by offering a wide variety of services at premium prices. Since you are already stuck in that building, you sure won’t mind paying a little extra for something that will help you pass the time.
Many airports also offer products and activities completely free of charge. This can make your waiting time much more fun without you having to spend any money on it. These are some things you can get at an airport for free!
1. Free Wi-Fi
It is not surprising that airports have an area where they offer travelers a free Wi-Fi network. Nowadays, almost all public spaces provide a free internet connection and it is definitely one of the best ways to keep people entertained.
Find yourself a comfortable seat, grab your laptop, plug in your headphones and enjoy a movie or two episodes of your favorite TV show while waiting for your flight. You can also get some work done, send emails, or plan in detail the trip you are about to take.
2. Airport library
A few airports such as the Helsinki, Amsterdam, and Tallin airports have created libraries to lend books to passengers during their time at the airport in an attempt to encourage reading.
In 2011, Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport partnered with Broward County Libraries Division to create an innovative program: passengers are given access to an e-library with a collection of more than 15 thousand books for free – they just have to pick up their smartphones or tablets and check a QR code.
If the airport doesn’t have a library, you can go to an airport bookstore and enjoy a quick reading session. Grab a small book or a magazine, find a seat, and read it. We recommend that you choose a poetry book and read some poems randomly.
3. Airport freebies
Luggage tags and “fragile” stickers are some of the useful things that airports offer for free. You needn’t buy them in advance.
You should always have a luggage tag attached to both your suitcase and carry-on luggage. If you are carrying any delicate material in your suitcase, a fragile sticker is also essential to warn the people responsible for handling your luggage and prevent accidents.
4. Practice Yoga
Ever since the San Francisco Internation Airport introduced its Yoga Room, exercising at airports has become a thing.
Passengers loved the idea of having a dedicated space where they can practice their Yoga while waiting for a flight.
These spaces are very similar to any other traditional yoga room, with mirrors and dim lights that create a relaxing environment. They are also open 24 hours a day and provide yoga mats for free, so you don’t have to bring yours.
The Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the Chicago Midway Airport, the Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Miami International Airport are some of the examples of airports that have followed this practice – which is also already present in Europe.
Several airports have small chapels or prayer rooms for religious and spiritual purposes. The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, for example, has an Interfaith Chapel open 24/7. There, a priest holds a catholic mass every day, and every Friday a Muslim Jumu´ah Prayer takes place.
If you are not a religious person, you can also use these places for meditation or to sit in absolute silence while reflecting on your life.
6. Water bottle refill
Carrying your own disposable water bottle to the airport is a huge mistake. Sooner or later, the airport security at the security checkpoint will kindly ask you to throw it away. Eventually, you will have to buy a new one.
Taking an empty refillable water bottle with you is one of the best airport hacks there is. You can fill it up as many times as you need, both before and after each security checkpoint. You will never have to pay a small fortune for a bottle of water in an airport cafe ever again.
7. Free tours
Some airports offer exclusive behind the scenes tours to satisfy passengers’ curiosity and keep them entertained while they are waiting for a connecting flight.
If the traveling industry fascinates you, this is an excellent opportunity to understand in loco how it works and everything that happens behind the scenes to guarantee that all passengers get to their destinations in time. These are highly complex logistics processes that will certainly blow your mind.
8. Play games
Games are fun, interactive, and sometimes even very educational. That’s why a few airports decided to invest in dedicated gaming spaces. Ping pong tables, gaming consoles, classic arcade games, dancing games, and aviation-themed climbing courses. The offer is varied and pleases children and adults alike.
A quick Google search will tell you if the airport from which your flights depart has a gaming space that passengers can enjoy free of charge. Alternatively, you can ask it directly to a staff member.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that special needs travelers have the right to have special assistance at airports. Passengers with mobility problems should know that wheelchairs are free at airports and they can request assistance from airport staff to assist them.
There are also special programs to help any passenger in need. For instance, the Traveler’s Aid program provides assistance to kids traveling alone, those who lost their tickets, and those who got accidentally separated from their companions. If you ever need help, don’t be afraid to ask a staff member directly.