There aren’t a lot of people in the world who haven’t been stuck at an airport at some point in their life. Maybe a connecting flight has been delayed because of mechanical work, or maybe bad weather in another part of the world is slowing things down where you are. It’s a hazard when you fly and the worst part is there is absolutely nothing you can do to avoid it. It’s completely out of the traveler's hands.
Back about ten years ago or so there was nothing to do when this happened. You could only hope to find something to entertain you and keep you occupied until it was time to board your next flight. If you were lucky you might be able to find a normal person to talk to, to kill the time, but don’t hold your breath on that. You’ll come across all kinds at the airport for sure.
In today’s times though, the airports have finally caught up with the demands of travelers. Now if you are delayed somewhere you can find any number of things to do, absolutely for free. All you have to do is just ask someone. You’ll be amazed at some of the things available to you free of charge.
It doesn’t have to be a delayed flight type of thing either. If you need help with a language barrier, disability, or just about anything at all, help is available to you for free in most cases if you just ask someone. When you read on here today you’re going to be amazed at the things you can get for free just by using your words and saying 'please'!
20 Free Private Skype Booths
Tallinn Airport was the first facility to install Skype video booths for travelers to use to make free Skype calls to friends and family while waiting for their next flight. Skype calls are free anyway but they are usually made on your computer, phone or tablet. This booth gives you a beautiful, private screen to use with headphones so your call is completely private.
The company that made the booth, AdTech, is hoping to have these in every airport around the world eventually. Right now though, unless you are at Tallinn Airport, you’ll have to use your phone for a not-so-private Skype session.
19 Free charging stations
There are a lot of airports that now offer you charging stations for your phone and other devices. However, that doesn’t mean that there is always an opening waiting for you. At busy airports, you may find that every port is taken and you are out of luck.
If you ever face this situation just ask an employee if they would be willing to plug in your device behind their desk or podium. You’ll find that most people are very accommodating and if you ask them nicely they will be just as nice to you, for free. Go ahead and give it a try next time you face this situation.
18 Free Phone Calls To Save your Battery
If you are stuck at an airport between flights and are trying to save your phone battery, you’re in luck. Several airports have phones available for you to use for free, all you have to do is ask where they are.
Places like Denver International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport have clearly marked phones for you to use for your local or long-distance needs. They only ask that you keep your calls to five minutes or less because they want as many people to be able to take advantage of them as possible.
17 Free Blockbuster Movies
Are you one of those unlucky people who have a layover of three hours or more? Those are pretty horrible to endure and the same thing could happen if you find yourself with a connecting flight that has been delayed or canceled.
If you happen to be doing your time at the Portland International Airport in Oregon, San Francisco International Airport, or Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport though, you are in luck. Well, sort of. Your flight isn’t going to be sped up any but at least you have the option of watching a full length, box office movie, for free to pass the time!
16 Free Yoga Sessions
If you are one of the many people who like to relax the mind and body with some yoga, you’re in luck if you have a long layover at the San Francisco International Airport, O’Hare and Midway Airports in Chicago, Miami International Airport, or the Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport.
If you just ask a staff member, you will be provided with a free yoga mat to use and an area that is perfect for putting your mind to rest.
Just make sure you clean it off before you use it because you don’t know who had it before you and nobody is really sure about the cleaning practices of said airports. But it’s a very cool thing for those who want it anyway.
15 Free Fragile Stickers
Whenever someone is taking a long trip they usually take at least one thing with them that they would consider being fragile. When this happens the person will usually go out and buy some “fragile” stickers and put them on the items to alert airline staff to be careful.
There really isn’t a need to spend the money on these because if you just ask someone at a counter they will gladly give you as many as you need, for free.
There is no guarantee that the people loading your luggage onto the plane will pay attention to it, but at least you don’t have to pay for the stickers.
14 A Free Informative Tour Of The Airport
Have you ever been sitting in an airport watching time on the clock go by very slowly? Of course, you have. We all have at one point or another in life. One of the things that you probably didn’t know about is that at some airports you can be taken on a tour of the facility if you just take a minute to ask someone.
It’s not available everywhere but it doesn’t hurt to ask. San Diego offers one of the best free tours with their Terminals to Tarmac Tours. So the next time you have time to kill and wonder what’s around that corner that you can’t see, just ask someone. You never know, they might offer to show you!
13 Free Shoe Shines (Still A Part Of Airport Life)
Do you remember the days when people actually got dressed up to take a flight somewhere? Yes, it did actually happen and some people actually still do, although they are in the minority now.
For those people, there are plenty of airports where they can get their shoes shined for free, courtesy of the airport they are currently in.
If you find yourself in the Los Angeles International Airport, Denver International Airport or the Kansas City International Airport in Missouri you can set your own price for a shoe shine. Most people just leave a generous tip when the polisher is finished, but it’s not required.
12 Free Bottled Water Refills
When you are killing time between flights you are going to get hungry and thirsty. That’s just the way it goes and there is no possible way that it’s not going to happen. The only thing that you can do is try to make it the most inexpensive break that you can. You’ll look at that water fountain and think about going over for a sip but a quick thought will tell you that it’s probably one of the nastiest places in the entire airport. The other option is to spend ten bucks on a bottle of water at one of the restaurants around.
If you are in San Francisco, Chicago, or Atlanta, among others, you can find “Hydration Stations” to refill your bottles.
11 For Your Entertainment - Free Concerts
This actually sounds a lot better than it really is but the bottom line is it’s still free. A lot of airports hire local acts to perform to keep travelers entertained while they wait for their next flight. Now you won’t see any national acts like Motley Crue or Nickelback playing for free at your local airport but they aren’t going to put anyone out there that is flat-out terrible.
The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, along with the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport each put on over twenty free concerts each and every week. You never know who you will see playing, so pay attention. Today the airport, tomorrow the world!
10 Free CPR Lessons On The Go
Are you one of those travelers who doesn’t know how to administer CPR if the occasion ever came up? If you happen to be killing some downtime at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the Indianapolis International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, or many others around the country, you can actually take lessons and take a test.
It’s a good thing to know and most people who spend a lot of time on the road just don’t have time to learn. When you are waiting for a connecting flight, there isn’t a better time to do this now is there?
9 Free Entertainment For The Mind And Soul
If you have several hours to kill at an airport you can learn more about or enjoy some cultural entertainment while you wait. If you are in San Francisco, they have an amazing twenty free exhibits for you to enjoy.
Places like St. Louis, Portland, Minneapolis, Albany and Miami have plenty to offer as well. They each have a rotating schedule all year long. So you could have several layovers at each and over the course of the year learn plenty of new things along your travels!
All you have to do is just ask someone where they are and they will happily point you in the right direction for some free, time-killing entertainment.
8 Your Very Own Free Personal Shopper
If you are in the middle of a long flight and are lucky enough to spend some downtime at London’s Heathrow Airport you can have someone get you a change of clothes if you’d like.
The clothes aren’t free but the personal shopper is and you can find one in the private lounge. The best part is they don’t work on commission so there is no minimum amount of money that you have to spend. Oh, and while you wait you can have some free champagne.
That sounds like it’s almost worth planning on having a connecting flight in London!
7 Free animal therapy
Flying can be a rough experience and if you have a layover that isn’t of the short type it can be even worse on your mind and body. There are lots of places though that have therapy animals that you can hang out with for a little while to calm you down.
If you are in San Francisco you can ask to pet the pig that walks around. Or how about the cat at Denver International Airport? There are even miniature horses running around in the Cincinnati terminals.
I’ll bet that you never knew these were available. All you have to do is ask - you never know what could happen!
6 Free local city tours!
Sometimes the layover you might be facing might be a brutal amount of time. If you are in certain cities though, you have the opportunity to take a tour of the city. What’s better than a free tour of a city that you aren’t familiar with?
There are countless cities where this option is available. Some of the best that you might want to take advantage of include Istanbul, Tokyo, Seoul, and Singapore.
All you have to do is ask and you might soon be on your way around a city that you never thought you would be. For free!
5 Free Exercise On The Go
The San Francisco International Airport was the first place to offer a lot of things. If you ever get to spend some time there consider yourself to be lucky, not put out by a delay. This place is totally awesome, to say the least.
They were the first place to offer free yoga sessions to travelers who had to wait for a connecting flight. Others have taken things a step further now though and if you are in the right place, you can take advantage of a gym to get in a quick workout. A couple airports even have jogging tracks in place!
4 free religious services
If you are a religious person on a trip with time to pass in an airport, all you have to do is ask and you’ll be pointed in the right direction for free religious services. Countless airports have at least the very bare minimum for you to visit but a lot of them actually have places that are quite nice waiting for you.
Boston’s Logan Airport has a Catholic Mass just about every day, Albuquerque’s International Sunport has a sunlit meditation room and you can even go to confession if you are spending any downtime at Chicago’s Midway Airport.
3 Luggage Tags Accomplish More Than Identifying Your Suitcase
Luggage tags will never be the most glamorous thing that you’ll ever ask for at an airport, but they are free and if you just ask you will be given as many as you want. These are good for the obvious reasons for keeping an eye on your stuff but there are a lot of people who also like to collect them to show off to their friends where they have been.
When grabbing your suitcase off of the luggage rack and it has tags from all over the world, others around you will look at you like you’re somebody. Play it for all it’s worth.
Why not? They’re free!
2 Anything You Need At All, Just Ask
There are countless programs to help people at airports. If someone needs transport assistance to another part of the airport, it can be done for free just by asking. But that’s not all that’s available to travelers.
If someone doesn’t speak English there is always someone nearby to help. At JFK in New York, another example is a great program is called Traveler’s Aid - it helps kids who are traveling solo.
Every airport wants you to have a pleasant experience during your visit there so they all offer many programs. All you have to do is ask someone. You never know what you’ll be offered for free.
1 Pets Need Relaxation Areas Too
Humans are not the only ones who are affected by long stays at airports. Plenty of people travel with their pets and they need relief and something to do as well. There are a lot of airports that offer pet relaxation areas for your furry friend to do their business and stretch their legs a bit.
Each airport varies and some have nicer areas than others but at the very minimum, your dog is going to appreciate even the smallest area of grass to relax on while waiting for a connecting flight. Just ask someone and they will be glad to point you to the nearest, free, animal relaxation area.