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Best of Vin Narayanan

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Top-10 airport prop bets

26 August 2013

Air travel can be a bit of a chore. You have to get to the airport extra early in case there's a line at security. Security lines can take forever. You can't bring drinks through security. You have to take your shoes, belts and (in the winter) jackets off before going through the body scanners. The whole experience feels more like a chore than a fun adventure.

But there's one surefire way to inject some fun into your next trip to the airport -- prop bets.

Prop bets can add a little mystery to travel. Instead of the security line being a boring place to hang out, it becomes a fun way to win some money. With prop bets, you get a rooting interest in every aspect of your travel. That creates engagement and interest. And where there's engagement and interest, fun is sure to follow.

Here are ten prop bets to consider the next time you fly:

10. Airport trip
For many, the hardest part of any trip is getting to the airport. I've cut it close on more than a few occasions. Sometimes, it was traffic. Sometimes it was -- ahem -- sleeping in. But any trip where you have to absolutely be there by a certain time can be stressful. Putting an over/under on how long it takes to get there can take a bit of the edge off.

9. Take off on time
This is a fun one because you can get some information in advance. When you book a flight on Orbitz, it tells you what percentage of the time that particular flight is on time. This is useful information for setting odds or an over/under on how many minutes late it might be. Don't forget to incorporate the possibility the flight takes off early. That's happened to me twice this month.

8. Cab line
This is always an interesting bet -- especially at busy airports. Taxi lines at the airport in Las Vegas can range from seconds to 30 minutes, depending on when you arrive. If you plan on winning this bet, make sure you understand what the peak arrival times are for both the airport (highest amount of flights) and the city (most tourists/visitors) are. This is critical in picking a winning time.

7. Time from security to gate
This is a fun one because it's entirely dependent on where your gate is. Do you have to walk to your gate or catch a shuttle? Are the gates close together or far apart? Are the gates closes to the security area, or is there a fair amount of separation? These are all factors to consider as you set the over/under. And remember, the same airport can have terminals with vastly different layouts. At Boston's Logan Airport, for example, it can be at least a 10-minute walk from security to your gate. But if you're flying JetBlue, it's a 2-minute walk.

6. Pat down
Going through the security line at an airport is just not a lot of fun. It's significantly better in the summer than in the winter. But still, it's a hassle. One way to make it a little more interesting is to bet on whether you'll get a pat down after you go through the body scanner. And it could be the one time you're glad the weird zippers on you shorts prompted some extra attention. Note: This is a bet that should come with conditions. If any participant in the wager fails to remove any and all items from their pockets that will trigger a scan, the person should automatically lose. In other words, don't try and game the system. Your fellow travelers do have flights to catch.

5. Luggage out first
This is one of my favorite games, because I always know which side to bet on. I rarely check my bags. But when I do, it almost always comes out last. The beauty is that people always believe that about their luggage. It just happens to be true in my case. And making the wager is a fun way to pass the time as you wait for the luggage to arrive.

4. Text messages
You're supposed to turn off your phone prior to takeoff. Most people do. And that means when you turn your phone on again after the plane has landed, there could be some text messages waiting for you. The right way to go here is to set an over/under line. Make sure to take into account how active a texter you're wagering with, and whether you're meeting people who are not at your destination. That will have an impact on the prop bet.

3. First fast food joint
If you know the airport you're landing in well, this game isn't fun. But if you're visiting a really big airport, or going to an airport for the first time, this is a great game. Airports are populated by a variety of fast food places. Your goal is to pick the one you're going to see after you've landed. And for the purposes of this wager, I'd include Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts in the mix.

2. Landing gate
Landing gates are pretty random. When you check in or take off, you generally don't know what gate you're going to land at. And landing gates change frequently as well. So this is a fun and completely random wager to make during your travels.

1. Security line
The big mystery in flying these days is how long it will take to clear the security line. So you might as well play along and turn it into a prop bet. It makes the wait in line a lot more fun -- especially if you've taken the over.
Recent Articles
Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.