25 Tips for Staying Productive During a Flight Delay

25 Tips for Staying Productive During a Flight Delay

Flight delays can be hard enough on the average traveler. But if you’re busy running a small business, those delays can be even more of a hassle. Fortunately, you don’t have to just accept a lack of productivity. There are plenty of ways you can use that delay to get stuff done. Here are 25 tips for staying productive during your next flight delay.

How to Stay Productive During a Flight Delay

Streamline the Check-in Process

Even if your flight is delayed, you’re not likely to get much accomplished at the airport if you have to spend a lot of time checking in and finding your gate. You can make that process quicker and easier by signing up for airline mobile apps and downloading your boarding pass or even signing up for TSA PreCheck.

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Make a List

Even if you’re just working on the fly, it’s a good idea to have goals in mind for what you’d like to accomplish. So when you first discover that your flight is delayed, make a quick list of tasks you could potentially accomplish in that time. And then get to work.

Make Sure You Have Personal WiFi

Some of those tasks you’d like to accomplish are probably going to require internet access. For that reason, having a personal WiFi hotspot on your phone or other mobile device can be invaluable for traveling entrepreneurs.

Find a Business Lounge

You could also potentially increase your productivity by finding a first class or business lounge that offers WiFi, comfortable seats and other amenities.

Remember Your Chargers

And nothing is worse than getting into a groove with your work and then having your computer or mobile device shut down. So remember to bring any chargers you might need, or even purchase mobile chargers.

Ask for Help

No matter how many devices you have at your disposal, there might be some things you just can’t do while sitting at an airport. So don’t be afraid to call or email other members of your team to ask them to cover any urgent tasks that you can’t get to.

Find New Productivity Apps

There are also plenty of mobile apps you might be able to use to make it easier to get things done from your smartphone or tablet. So check some of those out during your delay or even before.

Prep for Your Upcoming Trip

If you’re on your way to a big client meeting or other important business outing, there’s likely to be some prep work needed. So take the opportunity during your delay to get organized so you’ll have less to do once you arrive.

Organize Your Expenses

If you’re on your way back from a business trip, you could also take the opportunity to organize any expenses you might have accrued during your travels. Mobile apps can make organizing those expenses easy even when you’re sitting at an airport gate.

Send Overdue Emails to Clients

Flight delays can be a great opportunity for you to do some of those pesky tasks that you’ve been putting off for days or weeks. If you owe anyone an email, take the time to draft a response instead of just sitting there stressing about the status of your flight.

Get to Inbox Zero

You could also simply go through your incoming emails and organize them into folders or delete any unnecessary ones.

Organize Your Goals

If you don’t have any urgent tasks you can work to accomplish while at the airport, you could simply take the opportunity to look at your overall business goals and evaluate your current strategies.

Reevaluate Big Projects

More specifically, if you have any big projects in the works, you can look at some of your metrics and figure out if a change of direction might be necessary.

Make Quick Phone Calls

Though an airport terminal isn’t an ideal location for lengthy phone calls, you can potentially get a few quick calls out of the way while you wait for more information about your upcoming flight.

Catch Up on Industry News

There are plenty of news sources at airports and even more that you can access on your computer or smartphone. So while you’re waiting for your flight, take the time to read through some relevant industry articles or publications.

Cancel Out Noise

It’s tough to get work done when you’re sitting next to someone who’s having a loud, personal phone conversation or across from a crying baby. But you can cancel out at least some of that noise with a good set of headphones.

Set a Timer

But you also don’t want to get too zoned in on your work and miss any announcements regarding your flight status. So consider setting a timer so that you can focus fully on your work without having to constantly check the clock and listen to every announcement in your area.

Get a Tablet Keyboard

If you’re working on mobile devices like tablets instead of a full laptop, typing can be a bit more of a chore. But you can get a fairly inexpensive wireless keyboard to make typing on those devices easier.

Work Offline

You might also find yourself dealing with distractions on your own computer or mobile devices. In those cases, working offline can be a good solution.

Pull Up Work Material for Your Flight

You can also use the opportunity to pull up and save any documents or online reading materials that you might want to access during your flight, especially if the plane doesn’t offer WiFi.

Have a Healthy Snack

Being productive isn’t always about completing specific tasks right away. If you spend all your time during a flight delay scrambling to get work done, you might find yourself too worn out to do anything once you reach your destination. So you might also consider taking a bit of a break during your delay and grabbing a healthy snack to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

Practice a Language

Airports can be a great place for you to get a feel for other cultures. And if you do any business internationally, learning another language can be a great use of your time. So invest in an app or program that can help you learn.

Read a Book

You might also consider spending your time reading a book. You can pick one that’s relevant to your business or even just a fun read that can help you unwind.


Or you could clear your mind so that you can gain some perspective. Meditating, either on your own or with the help of an app, can be a great way to accomplish this.

Get Compensated for Your Delay

If you’ve spent valuable business resources on your delayed flight, then you might be able to get some sort of refund to help cover the cost and your lost time. Check with the airline to see if you can get money back or even a credit toward a future flight.

Airport Terminal Waiting Photo via Shutterstock 2 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions
  1. If you are lucky to have some Internet connection in the waiting area, you can actually do a lot of work while waiting for your flight. It is also a perfect opportunity to relax. It all depends on how you view it.

  2. Also the passenger can request free meals and drinks as well as hotel accommodation from the airline

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