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Julia Weede
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Jill Harrison
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From drinking too much and talking to strangers to leaving the airport – IgoUgo survey shows travelers admit to doing whatever it takes to pass the time during layovers

NEW YORK – November 11, 2008 –, the fastest growing online travel community in the world, recently surveyed its members and found that more than 73 percent of travelers said they are spending more time in airports due to flight delays or layovers. But what was really surprising was just what people are up to on their layovers.

IgoUgo editors found some interesting behavior happening in terminals: one-third of people are spending more time in the bar; 36 percent pass the time by eavesdropping; 16 percent drink with strangers and 8 percent attempt to sneak into the VIP lounges. The results also show a majority of travelers still turn to typical activities such as reading (74 percent), eating at a restaurant (60 percent) or walking the terminal for exercise (43 percent).

Additionally, more than half (53 percent) admitted to participating in behavior at an airport that they otherwise would not have; some of their out-of-the ordinary behavior includes:

  • Giving an email address or phone number to strangers
  • Confiding personal secrets in people they just met
  • Kissing strangers
  • Assuming a false identity
  • Sponge bathing in the bathroom
  • Asking strangers to watch their luggage
  • Sleeping in the children's playroom

"IgoUgo members are savvy travelers, and as our poll results show, the more direct flights are cut and the more layovers are dealt, the more creative they are with ways to pass the time," said Michelle Doucette, content manager at

According to IgoUgo members, nearly 30 percent of them would rather go to the dentist than have a two hour layover. However, when asked, there are some airports that make layovers more bearable than others. According to members:

Top 10 Favorite US Airports for Layovers

  • Las Vegas
  • Atlanta
  • Denver
  • Chicago O'Hare
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Los Angeles, LAX
  • Honolulu
  • San Francisco
  • New York, JFK
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul

In addition, they offer some helpful (and hilarious) advice on How to Pass the Time, with members’ suggestions ranging from getting massages to swimming in rooftop pools.

But for some adventurous travelers, staying in the airport is the last thing on their minds. In fact, 12 percent are using their layovers as an opportunity to see something new by leaving the airport to explore the city. When traveling internationally, that number jumps to 26 percent. IgoUgo members ranked their top ten favorite non-US airports to have a layover as:

Top 10 International Layover Airports

  • London Heathrow
  • Amsterdam Schiphol
  • Paris Charles de Gaulle
  • Singapore Changi
  • Frankfurt
  • Vancouver
  • Tokyo Narita
  • Munich
  • Zurich
  • Dubai

A number of IgoUgo members regularly turn layovers into extensions of their trips and have mastered clever ways to visit their favorite layover cities at little or no additional cost. For travelers willing to think differently about layovers, it is possible to add a "free" additional city into a well-planned trip. For a list of where to go, what to do and how to do it, check out the Tips and Advice from IgoUgo members on how to capitalize on international layovers.


This poll was conducted from August 25 – September 1, 2008 with a total of 1,090 respondents. An email invitation to participate was sent to subscribers of’s “Contests and Promotions” emails. To view complete poll results, please go to

About IgoUgo

IgoUgo is the fastest growing online travel community in the world. Its more than 500,000 members—world-seasoned and passionate travelers—share firsthand travel experiences, advice, and more than 330,000 photos to date, with candid tips and inspiring stories covering more than 8,000 global destinations. Site users can search by keyword to find reviews by like-minded travelers, as well as destination guides and helpful links. Members can easily contact one another to ask questions, exchange information, and build friendships without geographic bounds. IgoUgo has garnered top industry honors, including being named one of Forbes’ “Best Travel Sites” in 2006, a Webby Award for “Best Travel Site in the U.S.,” a “Top Travel Site” ranking from USA Today, and “Best Travel Community” and “Top Travel Site” commendations from Yahoo Internet Life.