6 Ways to Stay Productive at the Airport

See also: Time Management

Delays at the airport can be very frustrating, particularly for the business traveller.

However, there are lots of ways to stay productive, despite the waiting time.

From time-saving tips to the benefits of personal Wi-Fi, here are six top tips to stay productive on your next trip:

Be Prepared

As any savvy business traveller will tell you, it’s important to create a solid ‘battle plan’ before setting off on a trip.

Create a work schedule before you set off - identify the tasks you want to complete, and gather the devices and documents you’ll need. Always include more tasks than you’ll have time for, in case of further delays.

Portable Charger

It’s unwise to rely entirely on airport charging facilities, as these are frequently busy or sometimes out-of-order. Similarly, not all airlines provide passengers with sockets. Therefore, a portable charger is a must for the business traveller.

Mophie chargers are a perennial travel favourite, given their slim-line iPhone charging cases and their universal battery packs.

Jackery’s range of chargers are also highly regarded, ranging from the ultra-thin Air to the heavyweight Giant Plus.

Check that your chosen power pack is suitable for your device - some are capable of powering a laptop for several hours, whilst others are best suited to charging smartphones. Regardless of your chosen charging solution, it’s always wise to make sure all of your devices - including any portable batteries - are fully charged before you leave for the airport.

Personal Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi access is essential for many business travellers. However, public Wi-Fi networks are notoriously unreliable, and often insecure. Fortunately, there are plenty of personal ‘MiFi’ devices to choose from, which provide reliable internet access on-the-go.

XCom Global and Tep Wireless both provide personal hotspot devices for international travellers. Travellers can rent a device for the duration of their trip, and are charged a flat daily rate for internet access.

Rival company Karma operate in a slightly different way - each device generates a public Wi-Fi network, which strangers can join for free. Each new user awards 100MB of data to the owner of the device.

Many smartphones - including iPhone and Android models - are able to produce personal hotspots. However, these are often unsuitable for heavy data consumption, and you may incur charges from your service provider.

Efficient Check-In

Minimising the time you spend in check-in and security queues will give you more time to work in the departure lounge.

Check in online and print your own boarding card before arriving at the airport, as the bag-drop queues often move faster than the check-in queues. If possible, travel with hand luggage only - this allows you to bypass the check-in desks entirely.

Before you get to the front of the security queue, make sure you’re prepared. Take off coats, belts, and bulky shoes; empty your pockets completely; and remove any laptops and tablets from their cases. Similarly, keep all liquids in a resealable plastic bag, ready for inspection.


Tablets can be difficult to type on, which can ultimately reduce productivity. However, there are various lightweight keyboard solutions to make life easier for the business traveller. 

Logitech offers a range of cases with in-built keyboards, which essentially turn tablets into netbooks. The range varies from basic Bluetooth keyboards to the Solar Keyboard Folio, complete with solar panel and screen protection.

Rather than buying a keyboard, tablet users could also download a handwriting-to-text app. The user writes on the screen with a stylus or finger, before the app analyses the handwriting and converts it to text.

The Smart Writing 7notes HD Premium app ‘learns’ the user’s handwriting style, gradually improving the accuracy of text conversions.

Work Offline

When travelling by plane, you will eventually find yourself without internet access. Flight safety regulations are slowly changing, with some airlines now offering on-board Wi-Fi facilities to passengers. However, these services are often slow and temperamental - and most carriers also restrict the use of personal hotspots.

Although a loss of connection is potentially problematic for the business traveller, a little forward planning will help you to remain productive in-flight.

Be sure to download any essential documents and emails before boarding the plane. This allows you to keep working without disruption. Drafting email responses is a good in-air task, as it requires few resources, and the emails can be sent once you reach your destination. Similarly, you could work on a downloaded document, uploading it to cloud storage once you’re reunited with the internet.

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Arriving at the airport unprepared can hinder your productivity. Make a to-do list before you go, including which devices you need to charge, and which documents you want to download to your laptop or tablet. As long as you’re organised, it’s easy to stay productive - no matter how long your travel delays.

About The Author

This article was written by Ben Wosskow of LoveHomeSwap.com, a leading home swapping site boasting over 50,000 properties across over 150 countries.