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Hours at the Airport? 5 Fun Things to Do

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With the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Sunday, passengers are reflecting about how life has changed for airline travelers and the amount of extra time they spend at their airport. Home Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently said some restrictions are being lifted: “One of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on.” Hurrah.

Passengers do want an easier time at the airport. Harriet Baskas, author of “Stuck at the Airport,” enjoys off-beat distractions as she waits for her flight. One of her favorites? The Japanese Gardens at Honolulu International Airport. Before 9/11 when non-ticket holders could pass through the gates, it was also a place for farewells.

Here are 5 more:

Palm Beach International Airport: Practice Your Golf

Operated by hospitality firm HMS Host, the airport provides an indoor putting green and, for $3, you can walk away with a souvenir golf ball.

Boston Logan Airport: Make Your Own Sundae

The MooBella vending machine makes Sundaes in 30 seconds. You can choose from 12 flavors on the touch screen. They’re at Terminal C near the Back Bay Café and Lean & Green food store.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport: Workout at the Gym

For $15, take a workout in the Hilton Hotel gym, which is attached to the airport, or relax in the sauna and steam room, or have a dip in the pool. AirportGyms.com has details of similar offers.

San Francisco International Airport: Visit the Museum

On Level 3 of the International Terminal, there are free exhibitions on vintage televisions and a photography exhibition on the San Francisco Seals Baseball Team from 1903-1957.

Portland International Airport: Take Your Bike Apart

After you’ve taken the cycle track to this airport, you can use the tools and facilities at this area near the Lower Terminal roadway to take apart your bike so you can bring it on the airplane.

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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