Nonstop flights are fantastic for getting to your destination as quickly as possible. You get to do the whole transit in one go and get to your destination faster. But it can be challenging physically to travel the whole plane journey in one sitting — the longer the flight, the more demanding on your body.
Take for example a flight from Singapore to New York. If it’s nonstop, it will take 19 hours long in ideal conditions. Turbulence or a myriad of other factors could make that 22 hours. Nonstop flights also tend to be more expensive. Whether it’s to be economical or just to break up a long-haul flight, many prefer a stopover.
The question is: what to do while waiting for your connecting flight? A long stopover could just be how the flight was scheduled or, more irritatingly, because of a delay. Either way, if your stopover is four hours or more, you have some time to play with.
Rest and Recuperate
You could check into a hotel. Hotels are enhanced sleeping or relaxation quarters found at some airports around the world. Enhanced means that you normally get complimentary Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, a luxurious shower, 24-hour gym facilities, and 24-hour complimentary hot drinks. These are just some of the features offered by these new hotels.
These hotels are airside, so there’s no hassle with checkpoints and the security measures of moving from airside to landside and vice-versa. All you need is the valid boarding pass you were issued as you checked in. This is much better than trying to find the most comfortable position you can get into on an airport bench and will leave you in better shape when you land at your final destination. You’ll find great rest hotels at Changi Airport, Heathrow and Gatwick, and many other modern international airports.
Enjoy Duty-free Shopping and Dining
There are some bargains to be had from airside duty-free shopping. But online shopping has, to some degree, made it easier to find bargains for almost anything you can think of buying. This includes the air ticket you just purchased. It takes a bit of know-how to spot deals. You just have to be sure that you won’t get taxed in the country you’re going to. You could have a very long relaxing meal. But airports are notorious for not having the greatest dining options airside.
Get into the City
Most international airports have public transport that can get you into the city in reasonable time. The Heathrow Express can get you from the airport to Paddington in the heart of London in 15 minutes. They run four times an hour and are very dependable.
If you think it would be fun to see a little of the city during your stopover, it is viable. Of course, the longer your stopover, the better, as this gives more playtime in the city and decent margin time to get back to the airport. If your stop is four hours, you might be cutting it too fine. Going to the city is recommended if you have enough time and the public transport can get you quickly to the airport. Using a taxi might cause you to be stuck in traffic and miss your connecting flight.
Gone are the days when you would just sit on an airport bench and wait for your connecting flight. Airports have upped their game. There are now better options to keep you comfortable and entertained in the between moments of your flight.