Whether you’re a frequent flier or just going on a trip, long flights can be incredibly boring. Staring out the window gets old after a while, and there’s only so many times you can walk up and down the aisle.

If you’re wondering what you can do to pass the time and make your flight more enjoyable, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re looking for a quick answer, here are some top activities to keep yourself occupied on a flight: read books/magazines, download movies/podcasts beforehand, bring snack/comfort items, sleep if possible, strike up conversations with seatmates, play games on your phone or a portable gaming device.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about productive and entertaining ways to spend your time during air travel. With dozens of clever ideas for passing the hours in-flight, you’ll be prepared with plenty of options for your next plane ride.

Pack Entertainment Essentials

When it comes to passing time during a flight, having the right entertainment essentials can make all the difference. Here are some items you should consider packing:

Books and e-readers

Books are a classic choice for in-flight entertainment. Whether you prefer a paperback or an e-reader, having a good book can transport you to another world and help you forget about the long flight ahead.

If you opt for an e-reader, make sure to download a few books beforehand so you have a variety to choose from.

Portable gaming devices

For those who enjoy gaming, a portable gaming device can provide hours of entertainment. From handheld consoles to smartphones, there are plenty of options available to suit every gamer’s preferences. Don’t forget to charge your device and pack some games or apps to keep yourself entertained.

Noise-cancelling headphones

When you’re on a plane, there can be a lot of background noise that can be distracting or make it difficult to enjoy your chosen entertainment. Investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can help you block out the noise and immerse yourself in your music, movies, or podcasts.

Magazines and newspapers

If you prefer shorter reads, magazines and newspapers are a great option. They provide bite-sized content that you can easily flip through during the flight. Whether you’re interested in fashion, sports, or current events, there’s a magazine or newspaper out there to suit your interests.

Download movies, TV shows, music, podcasts

Thanks to technology, you can now download your favorite movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts onto your devices. This allows you to access your preferred entertainment even when you don’t have an internet connection. Make sure to have a variety of options to cater to different moods and preferences.

Portable chargers and extra batteries

One common issue during long flights is running out of battery on your electronic devices. To ensure uninterrupted entertainment, pack portable chargers or extra batteries for your devices. This way, you can easily recharge your gadgets and keep the entertainment going throughout the flight.

Travel pillow and blanket

Comfort is key when it comes to long flights. Investing in a travel pillow and blanket can make a world of difference in ensuring a restful journey. These items not only provide comfort but can also help you relax and catch some much-needed sleep during your flight.

Bring Travel Comforts From Home

When it comes to passing time during a long flight, comfort is key. Bringing travel comforts from home can make your journey much more enjoyable. Here are some essentials to consider:

Neck pillow

A neck pillow is a must-have item for any traveler. It provides support for your neck and helps prevent stiffness and discomfort during the flight. Whether you prefer an inflatable or memory foam pillow, investing in a good quality neck pillow can make a world of difference in your overall comfort.

Comfy clothes

Wearing comfortable clothes is crucial for a pleasant flight experience. Opt for loose-fitting and breathable clothing that allows for easy movement. Avoid tight jeans or restrictive clothing that can restrict blood circulation.

Dressing in layers is also a good idea, as temperatures on planes can vary.


Walking around barefoot on the plane can be unhygienic and uncomfortable. Pack a pair of cozy slippers or warm socks to keep your feet happy during the flight. Not only will this provide additional comfort, but it will also help you relax and feel more at home.

Snacks and drinks

While airlines usually provide meals and snacks, it’s always a good idea to bring some of your favorite treats from home. Pack some healthy snacks, like granola bars, nuts, or dried fruit, to keep hunger at bay.

Don’t forget to bring an empty water bottle that you can fill up once you pass security to stay hydrated throughout the flight.

Hand sanitizer and wipes

Keeping your hands clean during a flight is important, especially with the increased emphasis on hygiene. Pack a small bottle of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to keep germs at bay. Use them to clean your hands, tray table, and armrests for added peace of mind.

Small blanket

Planes can get chilly, so having a small blanket or wrap can provide extra warmth and comfort. Choose a lightweight and compact blanket that won’t take up much space in your carry-on bag. You’ll be grateful for the extra layer of coziness during those long flights.

Earplugs and sleep mask

If you’re looking to catch some shut-eye during your flight, earplugs and a sleep mask can be a game-changer. Earplugs help block out the noise of the plane and fellow passengers, while a sleep mask can create a dark and soothing environment for better sleep.

Remember to choose earplugs that are comfortable and provide sufficient noise reduction.

By bringing these travel comforts from home, you can create a more relaxing and enjoyable flight experience. Don’t underestimate the power of small comforts when it comes to passing time during your flight!

In-Flight Entertainment Options

Long flights can sometimes feel tedious, but with the right in-flight entertainment options, you can make the most of your time in the air. Here are some great ways to pass the time and enjoy your flight:

Watch movies/TV shows on seatback screens or devices

Many airlines offer a wide selection of movies and TV shows that you can watch on seatback screens or on your personal devices. Whether you’re in the mood for a comedy, thriller, or documentary, there’s something for everyone.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the latest blockbusters or catch up on your favorite TV series.

Listen to music playlists you downloaded

If you’re a music lover, why not create a playlist of your favorite songs and albums before your flight? Download them to your phone or tablet and plug in your headphones. Music can be a great way to relax, set the mood, or simply pass the time.

Whether you prefer classical, rock, or pop, your favorite tunes can make your flight much more enjoyable.

Play games loaded on your phone/tablet

If you have some games installed on your phone or tablet, a long flight can be the perfect opportunity to indulge in some gaming. From puzzle games to racing simulators, there are countless options to keep you entertained.

Challenge yourself or compete with fellow passengers to make your flight more fun and exciting.

Browse in-flight magazines

Most airlines provide in-flight magazines that cover a wide range of topics including travel, lifestyle, and entertainment. These magazines are a great way to discover new destinations, read interesting articles, and get inspired.

Flip through the pages, find an article that catches your interest, and dive into a world of information and entertainment.

Check out airline’s media offerings

Each airline has its own set of media offerings that you can explore during your flight. From curated playlists to audiobooks and podcasts, airlines often provide a variety of options to cater to different preferences.

Take advantage of these offerings to discover new music, immerse yourself in a captivating audiobook, or learn something new from an enlightening podcast.

Remember, the key to passing time during your flight is to find activities that you enjoy. Whether you choose to watch movies, listen to music, play games, read magazines, or explore the airline’s media offerings, these entertainment options can make your flight more enjoyable and help you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and entertained.

Productive Activities

When you’re on a plane, it’s a great opportunity to be productive and make the most of your time. Here are some productive activities you can engage in to pass the time during your flight:

Read books or e-books

Reading is a fantastic way to pass the time and expand your knowledge. Whether you prefer physical books or e-books, make sure to pack a couple of titles that you’ve been meaning to read. Dive into a captivating novel, explore a self-help book, or indulge in a thought-provoking non-fiction piece.

Reading not only entertains you but also exercises your mind and boosts your mental well-being. Don’t forget to pack a bookmark or use the e-book’s highlighting feature to mark your progress!

Write in a journal

Journaling is a therapeutic activity that allows you to reflect on your thoughts and experiences. Take this time to jot down your travel adventures, record your feelings, or simply write about your day. Writing in a journal can help you process your emotions and create lasting memories.

Plus, it’s a great way to improve your writing skills and unleash your creativity. Remember to pack a pen and a notebook or use a digital journaling app on your smartphone or tablet.

Learn a new language with apps

Why not use the hours spent on the plane to learn a new language? With the help of language learning apps like Duolingo, Babbel, or Rosetta Stone, you can start mastering a new language right from your seat.

These apps offer interactive lessons, quizzes, and vocabulary exercises to help you build your language skills. Impress the locals with your newfound knowledge when you reach your destination!

Catch up on work/emails

If you’re a busy professional, a plane ride can be the perfect opportunity to catch up on work or clear out your overflowing inbox. Use the uninterrupted hours in the air to reply to emails, draft reports, or brainstorm new ideas.

Make sure to download any necessary files or documents before your flight, and don’t forget to put your phone on airplane mode to avoid distractions. By the time you land, you’ll have made significant progress on your to-do list.

Plan for your trip and destination

Use your flight time to plan your trip and get excited about your destination. Research the must-visit attractions, restaurants, or hidden gems that you don’t want to miss. Create a detailed itinerary, book tickets for attractions or shows, or make reservations at popular restaurants.

Planning ahead will not only make your trip smoother but also build anticipation for the amazing experiences that await you. Websites like TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet can be great resources to gather information about your destination.

Exercise and Self-Care

When you’re on a long flight, it’s important to take care of your mind and body. Here are some ways to stay active and refreshed while onboard:

Do stretches in your seat

Sitting in a cramped airplane seat for hours can leave you feeling stiff and uncomfortable. To combat this, try doing some simple stretches right in your seat. Stretch your arms, legs, and neck to improve blood circulation and reduce muscle tension.

These stretches can help you feel more relaxed and energized during your flight.

Take a quick walk up and down the aisle

If the seatbelt sign is off and it’s safe to move around the cabin, take a stroll up and down the aisle. Walking helps to improve blood flow and prevent leg cramps. Plus, it gives you a chance to stretch your legs and break up the monotony of sitting for an extended period.

Stay hydrated

It’s easy to become dehydrated during a flight, so be sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and dry skin. To stay hydrated, bring a refillable water bottle with you and ask the flight attendants for refills throughout the flight.

This will help you feel refreshed and prevent any discomfort caused by dehydration.

Apply moisturizer

The dry cabin air can leave your skin feeling dry and tight. Combat this by applying a moisturizer or hydrating face mist during your flight. Not only will this help keep your skin feeling soft and supple, but it can also provide a refreshing sensation and make you feel more comfortable throughout the journey.

Listen to relaxing music/meditate

Listening to calming music or engaging in meditation can help you relax and unwind during your flight. Bring a pair of noise-canceling headphones and create a playlist of your favorite soothing tunes. Alternatively, try practicing deep breathing exercises or guided meditation to calm your mind and reduce any anxiety or restlessness.

Sleep if you can

If you’re on a long-haul flight or traveling overnight, take advantage of the opportunity to catch some sleep. Bring a travel pillow, an eye mask, and earplugs to create a comfortable environment conducive to sleep.

Resting during your flight can help you arrive at your destination feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Social Interactions

One of the best ways to pass time during a flight is by engaging in social interactions. Not only does it help to break the monotony of a long journey, but it can also lead to interesting conversations and new connections.

Chat with your seatmates

Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. You never know, they might turn out to be a fascinating individual with incredible stories to share. Start by introducing yourself and asking about their travel plans.

From there, the conversation can naturally flow into various topics, such as hobbies, favorite destinations, or even shared interests. Who knows, you might end up making a new friend or discovering a travel buddy for future adventures!

Get to know passengers around you

Don’t limit yourself to just your seatmates; try to interact with other passengers as well. Take a walk down the aisle and politely approach fellow travelers who seem open to conversation. You could ask them about their travel experiences, places they’ve visited, or recommendations for your destination.

Sharing travel stories and tips can be a fun way to learn from each other and get inspired for future trips.

Play trivia games with your travel companions

If you’re traveling with friends or family, make the most of your time together by playing trivia games. Bring along a deck of cards, travel-themed trivia cards, or even create your own game with questions related to your destination.

Not only will this keep you entertained, but it can also spark interesting discussions and friendly competition among your travel companions.

Discuss travel plans and recommendations

Engage in conversations with other passengers about their travel plans and seek their recommendations. You might find valuable insights about hidden gems, must-visit attractions, or local cuisines that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Additionally, sharing your own travel plans can lead to valuable suggestions and tips from fellow travelers who have visited the same destination before. It’s a great way to gather information and make your trip even more memorable.


Flying doesn’t have to be a boring chore. With the right entertainment, productive activities, comfort items, and social interaction, you can pass the hours enjoyably during your next flight. Just be considerate of those around you and flight crew policies.

The next time you have to take to the skies, try out some of these creative ideas for making the most of your time in the air.

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