How we all hate those airport layovers! Of, at least most of us do—endless hours of boredom, questionable airport food, endless CNN broadcasts (often in a language you don’t understand) and waiting that just tend to wear you out. But…quite often direct flights are more expensive than those that require a layover so we end up with layovers. Most of us hope to spend as little time as possible between flights; however, trying to avoid long layovers can come with its own set of problems.
In this day of flight delays you sometimes you get a close (too close) connection that can cause you to skip that rest room that you really needed to use (should have gone on the plane!) and run breathlessly through the airport as you hear the dreaded announcement “final call” for your flight. And as it sometimes happens, this is from one end of the airport to the other. Of course the standard airline response to these close connections is: “well, it’s a legal connection”.
Our advice is to opt for the longer connection in many instances. The advantages? Well, you may get to see some sights that will add to the pleasure of your trip without spending much more. One time my husband and I had a flight on British Airways arriving at London Gatwick around 9:00 a.m. and our Croatia Airlines flight to Zagreb did not depart until 7:00 p.m. So we did a bit of research and found out that the Gatwick Express train could zip us into London in less than an hour. The “helpful” guy at customs told it wouldn’t be worth it, but fortunately we ignored him.
The result was a delightful day in London, catching a city tour bus, taking a cruise on the Themes and of course some fish and chips in a local pub. Got back to the airport with plenty of time to spare and had some great memories of our day in London even though that was not part of our original plan. Did not hit any Catholic sites that day but still it was a pleasant time.
Some people often extend their layover to an overnight stay. Often this does not change the airfare so long as it is less than 24 hours. Of course you will have the cost of your lodging but assuming you are some place interesting then it’s a great way to get even more enjoyment out of your travels.
Check out any Catholic sites that may be nearby: perhaps a chance to visit a nearby shrine or even attend Mass. Two examples among many are the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport or the Shrine of Our Lady of All Nations near Amsterdam’s SchipolAirport. And you can easily whisk in to Paris from Charles de Gaulle airport and catch Notre Dame, the Miraculous Medal or one of the many other Catholic sites in Paris.
Or if you are not up to going anywhere but are just dead after that long overseas flight and have a later departure that day, consider grabbing a hotel room for a day rate. You can catch a few hours of sleep, take a shower and be bright eyed and bushy-tailed as you resume your journey later that day. Many airport hotels offer day rates at less than the normal nightly rate and a Google search for “Airport Hotel Layover Rates” will even pull up a couple of websites dedicated to just that. Be sure to leave a wake-up call!
How about you? Do you have a suggestion on any Catholic sites to visit during a layover. Let others know.