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7 ways to keep yourself entertained on long-haul flights

How to make your journey less boring

· 3 min read

Flying long-haul and dreading the upcoming flight? While the prospect of reaching a new destination is thrilling, the hours spent in a confined space can sometimes feel never-ending. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to keep yourself entertained and make the most of your time in the air. Here are 7 things you can do to keep yourself entertained on the flight!


1. Make use of the In-flight Entertainment

If you are flying a full-service carrier, make use of the in-flight entertainment. Airlines will load their in-flight entertainment systems with a large library of movies, TV shows, and music that you can choose from. Some airlines will also feature live TV content as well as games that you can play. While the movies on board wouldn't be the same as what you will find in your cinemas (in-flight releases are usually 3-6 months after theatrical releases), it is a good opportunity for you to catch up on movies that you might have missed out previously, or to rewatch some good ol' classics. Looking for an airline with a good selection of content? Emirates is commonly known to have the best IFE with largest amount of content.

And if you can't find a good movie or show to watch, some airlines also have an aircraft camera that you can use to see what is going on outside the aircraft. This will be rather useful if you are in a middle aisle and want to look at something that is not just the aircraft cabin.

2. Use In-flight WiFi

In-flight WiFi is known to be expensive and slow; and technology in aviation is years behind what we are typically used to. But as technology improve, in-flight WiFi has become increasingly usable and affordable. In fact, many airlines are now starting to offer free in-flight WiFi — albeit for a limited amount of time or limited data volume. While you wouldn't be able to scroll through your social media accounts or stream like you would at home, the in-flight WiFi would be sufficient for you to send emails or chat messages with your friends.

If you run out of your free in-flight WiFi allowance, there's always the option of buying a new WiFi pack. Remember to switch off and disable all your background updates so it doesn't consume your WiFi allowance!

P.S. Selecting the option to 'update only on WiFi' isn't going to help — since you will be on WiFi. It's best to disable them completely!

3. Download your movies and TV shows

Load up your tablet or phone with your favourite movies, music, and TV shows. Most streaming apps today allow you to download content for offline consumption, so you can prepare your own entertainment ahead of time. This is especially useful if you are flying a budget carrier which does not have in-flight entertainment or WiFi; and even if the airline you were flying had in-flight entertainment, having your own personal selection will ensure that you definitely have something to watch in case the selection on-board doesn't interest you.

Most airlines also have charging ports, so you can charge your device in case they run out of battery mid-flight. But, some airlines impose a fee if you want to use these charging ports, so having a power bank with you could be pretty handy!

4. Get an e-Reader or a book

Bring along an e-reader with your favourite ebooks downloaded so you can read them on the flight. Compared to staring at the IFE screen or your mobile devices, an e-reader is also a lot gentler on your eyes. Your eyes could easily get tried or dry when you are on the flight, so looking at an e-reader could sometimes be much more comfortable and better on your eyes. Dive into a captivating story and keep yourself engaged through the course of your flight!

Of course, bringing along a physical book would work too; but e-readers are less bulky. And you'll be able to load more content in it!

5. Download audiobooks, podcasts, and music

Audiobooks, podcasts, and music are a great alternative to keep yourself entertained without straining your eyes on the flight. Create playlists or download your favorite tunes before the flight. Podcasts are another excellent choice, providing a diverse range of topics to keep your mind engaged.

While in-flight entertainment usually also include a collection of music albums, the collection is way smaller than what you would find on streaming platforms. Creating your own playlist will ensure that the music will be what you commonly listen to!

6. Journaling or colouring books

Adult coloring books have gained popularity for their stress-relieving benefits. Pack a set of colored pencils and let your creativity flow. Or, you can use the time to reflect, plan, or simply jot down your thoughts in a travel journal.

Being on a flight is a good opportunity for you to disconnect with the daily hustle of life. Most people don't usually engage in long conversations with fellow passengers while on the flight, and during the lull period where everyone else is asleep, it is a good chance for you to just slow down and simply connect with yourself.

7. Sleep

Sleeping is very, very important. If you will be flying long-haul, try to plan your sleep schedule on the flight so that it matches the timezones of your destination in order to minimise jet lag. Bring along a neck pillow, eye mask, and earplugs to create a comfortable sleep environment.

Getting a window seat can also help you sleep better as you are less likely to be disturbed by other passengers who might need to use the bathroom. Being at the window seat also allows you to rest your head against the walls of the cabin to sleep better. And if you are someone who usually sleeps on your side, pick the side of the aircraft that you usually sleep on!