How to survive when you're stuck at the airport
New figures have revealed the most delayed airlines, and some operators have had an absolute shocker. Spanish operator Vueling was found to have the worst punctuality of major airlines flying from UK airports with an average delay time of over half an hour, according to the analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data by PA news agency.
Thomas Cook (24 minute delays on average) Wizz Air (23 minutes) and Norwegian Air UK (22 minutes) also fared poorly in the investigation. The ranking features the 43 airlines with more than 2,000 flights from UK airports last year. The average delay across all flights was 16 minutes.
That passengers are often left fuming in airport waiting rooms is probably not all that surprisingly, but now we know just how common, and how significant the delays can be.
Here's how to pass the time if you're one of the millions left stranded. Your options range from visiting the dentist, to Celine Dion...
1. Google the airport
Sounds facetious, we know, but bear with us. There are no laws governing what airports should or should not contain, so different airports take radically different approaches to in-house entertainment.
Singapore's Changi Airport includes a butterfly garden, Vancouver a multi-storey aquarium, while an airport near Sao Paulo features an on-site dentist. Hong Kong International hosts a 4-D cinema, while Tokyo tourists can enjoy 'flavoured breathing' in Narita Airport's fabulously surreal 'oxygen lounge'.
And how could you forgive yourself for passing through Calgary Airport, without clocking that the third floor contains a real, bona fide moon rock.
2. Enjoy the people watching
Airports are one of the world's great equalisers - family holidays, frantic business trips, and beach-bound stag dos, all packed in together.
Everyone is in transit, so you can just sit back and watch. Grab a cappuccino, plug in some Coldplay, and enjoy life's great tapestry.
3. Locate a public plug
Universal sockets are the unsung heroes of every airport lobby, because long delays will throw your battery life plans right off. Unfortunately, you're going to have to earn your airport movie, as plugs are often mystifyingly hard to find.
We hope you like hide and seek, because, by the time you've located one, your delay might already be over.
4. Stay fed and watered
Your flight is delayed, it took you hours to find a public plug, and you've probably had it up to about here. It's not the moment to quibble with overpriced airport food, and start feeling 'hangry' too.
Airport grub is rarely gourmet, but we'd recommend it over a shopping spree. Recent research by finder.com found that some duty-free purchases can cost up to 150% more than ordering online.
5. Take a nap
Admittedly a bold gambit if your delay is half an hour, but for longer holdups there are those that have turned the airport sleep into an art form.
We've all seen them - beleaguered backpackers with eye masks, camping pillows, makeshift blankets and impressively few inhibitions. For most of them, it's clearly not their first rodeo.
There is even a dedicated website - sleepinginariports.net – with detailed guides on which lounge to snooze in, how to protect your luggage, and why you should 'act innocent' when woken by staff.
6. Make a viral video
Consider the passenger that danced her way through a four-hour wait in Atlanta Airport, and woke up the next day to nine million views, or the unfortunate Australian that went viral after struggling with her luggage trolley.
Yet more compelling is the tale of Richard Dunn, who touched the hearts
of millions when he lip-synced his way through Celine Dion's All By Myself, while trapped on his lonesome overnight in Las Vegas Airport.
Delayed flights and smartphones seem a sure-fire recipe for internet fame. Just for the love of all that is airborne, keep your high jinks away from security.