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Layover: 4 (Career) Boss Moves to Pass the Time at America’s Most Delayed Airports

Give Candy Crush a rest and advance your professional development

(Image: Thinkstock)

Don’t you just love travel delays and layovers?

Not.

The key to getting through the most annoying—and prevalent—part of your travel experience is spending what could be perceived as wasted time wisely.

Recently, Thrilllist.com published a story titled, “What to Do at America’s 10 Most Delayed Airports,” featuring major travel hubs including New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson, and Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

Inspired, I decided to come up with four career-related boss moves you can make at any airport where there’s delays (or a long layover), as you travel for business or pleasure on or near the holidays:

1. Network at one of the airport bars or sky lounges: Get out of your comfort zone. Even if you’re not going to drink anything alcoholic, scope out the airport’s bar areas or sky lounges (if you’re a member or frequent flier), and network. You never know who you could meet at the airport, so take a bit of time away from Candy Crush and make a new professional contact. Just don’t be too forward, and use discretion.

2. Get familiar with the service workers and retail professionals. Many of the major airports have retailers and workers who can be of help to you if you’re a frequent traveler in and out of these hubs. Building friendly relationships with these people could serve to be an asset to you when you need extra information, have a wardrobe snafu or need travel updates. Be genuinely cordial, tip well and address them by their names.

3. Research and pursue business partnership opportunities. Do you know about the marketing, advertising and business opportunities available to minority and women-owned businesses via these airports? Well, find out. If you think this is too lofty an aspiration, you won’t know what is realistic until you explore your options and get the information you need. Explore the opportunities out there for your business or professional growth.

4. Brush up on your languages. It’s always great to be bi- or trilingual. It can also be an asset as some airports employ a very diverse workforce and in some locales, you’ll be that much more relatable by speaking a language more familiar to the party you’re speaking to. (This did wonders for me in Miami.) Try downloading free language apps, such as Duolingo, and use them throughout your trip, or speak only another language when ordering food or asking questions.

How do you spend your time during travel delays and layovers? #Soundoff and follow me on Twitter @JPHazelwood.

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