Layovers are a reality travellers have to face when trying to get from point A to point B. Sometimes it’s because you have to pass by an airline’s hub airport, other times it’s to break up a long journey. Whatever the reason, they can definitely be qualified as either good or bad.
Good layovers are either very short or very long. Short layovers allow you a small window of downtime in between flights where you can stretch your legs, go to a washroom bigger than a closet, and grab a snack before boarding again. Like a brief intermission. Delightful!
Long layovers let you grab a train, metro, bus, or taxi to see the city you are temporarily in. Call it a whirlwind vacation within a vacation. You might either get your fill of that city or bookmark it for a later trip. The world is your oyster.
Of course, both of those come with their own drawbacks. Short layovers can mean a potential for missing flight connections. One delay at your point of origin can cause a ripple effect that will leave you racing from one gate to the next (and doesn’t it always seem to be at the opposite end of the airport?!), huffing/puffing/sweating up a storm while you weave your way through other travellers, airport staff, and physical obstacles only to be greeted with a closed gate at the end of the road. So that’s one drawback.
Long layovers have their own challenges, namely the extra expense incurred for accommodations, meals, and entertainment. In my opinion, the extra cost is mostly a wash considering you would have been spending at your ultimate destination anyway.
Bad layovers. We all know and hate them. They are over 2 hours and under 8 basically not allowing you to escape the confines of the airport despite having circled every single store multiple times and having eaten your fill of airport food. No airport is interesting after 2 hours. There just isn’t enough to do. Some airports are better than others, offering spa services and (fairly) fine dining. Not a bad way to pass the time, but with inflated prices, no one really plans on chipping away at the travel fund in the encapsulated village that is the airport. Others have nothing but a waiting room and tourist brochures advertising the nearest inaccessible experience you would have been having if your layover had just been *thatmuch* longer. Either way, these layovers are pretty bad.
But the worst of all possible layovers? It’s the one that was supposed to be an hour but ended up getting delayed repeatedly only to leave the traveller in a state of continual limbo. It’s the one that makes you stay in the airport for so long that you realize in hindsight that you *could* have gone out and done something more interesting than wheeling your carry-on around the narrow aisles of the general store eyeing the tech accessories for the millionth time. It’s the most frustrating part about travel.
Despite the good, bad, and ugly layovers, travelling is actually about the journey, so make sure to be pack your smartphone with games, your e-Reader with books, and your carry-on with playing cards, and take the time to drink in the process of getting to that destination you just can’t wait to get to. Point B is just a quick (or not so quick) layover away.