Posted in Airlines, Airports & Lounges

Planning For a Long Layover

We are going to have a 6 hour layover on our upcoming trip.  It’s not the ideal situation, but it is what it is.  This stop is just one part of our Budget vacation to Hawaii.  I was able to book the airfare entirely with points for me and using my Southwest Companion Pass for my husband.  We knew going in that this was an economy flight and that we would be sacrificing prime schedules and some creature comforts in exchange for a great deal.


I Considered Moving our Flight

This flight is just one segment of our trip.  Since the Hawaii routes are new to Southwest this year, the number of flight options are limited.  They don’t offer a connection from Detroit to Hawaii.  Instead I had to book 2 separate legs of the trip.  It was difficult lining all the parts up to make it work. The flights that I booked are the closest matches available without changing airlines.  I have also rechecked often to see if Southwest added any new flights on those days that would decrease our layover, but that hasn’t happened.  So changing flights is not an option for this trip if we want to be able to fly for free.  And we do!


Hang Out at the Lounge

Ideally with a layover, an airport lounge would be a great place to spend a few hours. Even though we have Priority Pass Lounge access, there isn’t a Priority Pass Lounge located at Oakland Airport. The only lounge there is the Express Lounge, which is an American Express Global Lounge, and requires you to have an American Express Platinum card in order to enter.  Sadly, this means that the Lounge is not an option for us on this trip.


Leaving the Airport

I am a bit of an anxious traveler.  Even with the best of plans outlined, I find myself tense from the time we load up the suitcases until we arrive at the airport and get through the Security checkpoint. So many what if’s fly through my mind.  What if we have a flat or get stuck in traffic or aliens invade… So although 6 hours is probably plenty of time to leave the airport and see some local sites, I would be a wreck expecting the worst the entire time.  For me I think it best to just play it safe and remain at the airport.  Sigh.


Have a Meal

Since we are flying on Southwest, there will be drink service and a bag of some kind of snacks, but no meal service on our flights.  One thing we will do for sure is have dinner during our time at Oakland Airport.  I pulled up the terminal layout to find out what our choices are.  We will be flying from Terminal 2 that services Southwest and there are a few viable options there.  At best we can probably stretch dinner and a drink out to about an hour and a half.  That still leaves us a lot of time to kill.

Terminal 2 Dining Options
  • East Bay Cafe
  • Pyramid Ale Taproom (breakfast, lunch and dinner; and grab-n-go food)
  • Jet Box
  • Max’s & OAK Pizza
  • Andalé (Mexican food, bar/cocktails)
  • Bar 510


I usually find that shopping at the airport is pretty expensive and therefore I don’t do it unless there is something I really need.  But it never hurts to wander through some shops to kill some time looking at all the interesting treasures.

The Terminal 2 Shopping Options

  • Oakland Sports Scene (sports merchandise and featuring Oakland Raiders, Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors)
  • Oakland Tribune News (newsstand, gifts, books, snacks, travelers necessities)
  • InMotion Entertainment
  • Bayfront News (newsstand, snacks, travelers necessities)
  • Oakland Marketplace (sandwiches, salads and packaged goods, wine and gifts)
  • Sunglass Icon


There are also a handful of automated vending kiosks selling various products.  Yawn.  I can’t see myself spending much time browsing in these stores. But I did notice that Terminal 1 has a couple more Newsstand shops and the World Passage Duty Free and Travel Retail.  If I get too bored, I may venture to the Duty Free shop and see if there are any unique treats that I can pick up for our flight.  Mark does love treats!

Note:  I can’t say enough times how much I love my home airport.  DTW really offers a good selection of dining, interesting shopping choices and has a Priority Pass lounge.  I have been to a lot of airports throughout many cities and it is still one of my favorites.



With 2 long flight segments (7 hours and 5.5 hours) it would be a good idea to do some walking during our layover.  Walking will not only get our blood pumping again but it will stretch things out a bit after being cramped up and sedentary during our long economy flight.  I will be sure to pack refillable water bottles so that we can stay hydrated as well.

Note:  Keeping the blood flowing and staying hydrated are two good ways to prevent blood clots from forming during long flights.


Waiting it Out

Of course there are a plethora of options we can do seated right at the gate, but I really want to keep us moving as much as possible.

  • Catch a Nap
  • Read or listen to an audio book
  • Watch a movie or tv show on our devices
  • Listen to a Podcast
  • Play a game
  • Charge our devices
  • People Watch
  • Review our travel guides


This is going to be an awesome trip once we finally get to Hawaii. We get to enjoy 6 amazing days of adventure and chilling on the beaches. Having to deal with a layover is a small price to pay for scoring such a great deal on our flights.  I am sure we will manage to stay busy and time will pass faster than we think.  Heck we survived a 30 hour fiasco at the airport last year and we just made it through a 4 hour flight delay at the airport on our trip to Texas last month, so we got this!

If you have any other great insights for us on things to do, feel free to leave a comment!  



Just an Art and History Nerd from MI Who Loves to Travel, Explore, Save Money, Share Tips, Enjoy the Best Foods & Adult Beverages🍷🥂🍸 Then Blog About It!

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