[Productivity hack] Why that 30-minute layover likely isn’t a good airplane booking

Estimated read time: 3 minutes


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I get so much work done ✅ on airplanes ✈️, I should fly more. ?

Seriously, though, the amount of tasks I can get knocked out seems unreal somedays. I even written the majority of my two books on planes. On my phone.

Another place where I get a lot of work done is at the club. And of course the 30-minutes on a still boarding plane before takeoff. Duh, don’t just sit there! That’s work time! ??

Related podcast: How to maximize airport lounges (From interiors + sources)

All those highly productive times are now at risk with more and more 30-minute layover recommendations I’m seeing.

Delta used to show these to me years ago for hops through Atlanta and it partially pushed me away from them and to fly American Airlines. Aside from that I was often flying to Dallas – an American hub.

For example, I was discussing an influencer program with somebody and looking at travel arrangements.

One of the options American Airlines was giving me was this 31-minute layover at O’Hare in Chicago.

Of course I wouldn’t know until the day before where my gates would be, but for some context: The longest walk in Terminal 3 – the American area – could easily be 17 minutes.

That can be close and maybe just as importantly: Wouldn’t be a very enjoyable or productive return trip.

The more time I spend running and recovering the less time I spent working.

That flight was actually listed as my best option on Google Flights. Probably because most people want to get to where they are going quickly.

And 3 hours Cleveland to Cedar Rapids is a great time to make. Though there are trade offs.

Interestingly, there’s another flight from Chicago not too far later:

It’s the same cost and with a 2-hour layover allows for some work time and the avoidance of the sprint.

If the earlier flight is nearby once I land and hasn’t boarded I can also try to standby on it. Without status that might cost you $75.


It’s not like all many airports are places you’ll want to hang out at. Interior design choices and amenities vary widely from Greensboro where the Phillips Collection has an actual display:

To Dallas-Forth Worth where the hallways are spartan:

To Pittsburgh where they are offering places – a jabbrrbox – to work:

My favorite place to work at an airport maybe ever was at Long Beach Airport in California where you can sit outside even in the secure area:


I got so much work done at that table in Long Beach!!! And I enjoyed myself. Talk about a good work experience.

Running from gates 17 minutes apart wouldn’t fit that positive experience.


Audio extra: How to maximize time:


I usually try to avoid short layovers on international trips too, like when I’m flying through London Heathrow.

Firstly, it’s hard to clear security and make your connection with under an hour to go there. Secondly, I’d like to visit the British Airways or other airline clubs for some food and the experience.

Also, the club there was the place that first launched me into virtual reality storytelling – so there’s that benefit to experiencing where we are.


So something to consider! Travel and life consists of different puzzle pieces and it’s really worth looking at them situation by situation.