15 Ways to Entertain Yourself on a Long Flight


Image: Qantas.

Door to door, the flight from Miami to Melbourne is about 25 hours. It can get boring fast. Here are 15 ways to entertain yourself on a long flight.

1. Read. Thanks to the magic of the e-reader, you can carry a library of books with you too. It’s good to have variety. You might want to read something light and fun, the latest thriller, a business book, or dive into a classic novel. I don’t recommend non-fiction about terrorist hijackings or aircraft disasters. While you can add newspapers and magazines to your e-reader, I don’t recommend paper versions because they’re not worth your valuable bag space since you’ll get through them so quickly.

2. Listen to an audio book. It’s just like reading a book, but without the reading part. Let someone else do the work for you while you just sit back and relax with an overpriced cocktail.

3. Watch TV or a movie. If you’re flying internationally, you’ll probably have a few decent movie and television show options. You can also upload movies and shows to your smartphone or tablet. I’d go for comedy or drama and avoid tearjerkers.

4. Listen to music. Your flight may also offer several music channels. I also recommend loading up your mp3 player with your favorite tunes. Try not to sing aloud though.

5. Listen to or watch podcasts. I’m almost always behind on my podcasts. I like TED and a few shows from the TWiT network such as the This Week in Tech, Frame Rate, and the Social Hour.

6. Play games. Some international flights offer video games and you can also get some great games on smartphones and tablets. I’m not a big gamer, but I like Angry Birds and just about anything with zombies in it. If you’re old school, try crossword puzzles or sudoku.

7. Write. A 15-hour flight might be a good time to get started on that great novel you’ve always meant to write.

8. Clean up your laptop. Depending on the flight, you may or may not have extremely expensive WiFi. Even without a net connection, you can use your laptop to watch movies, play games, or write the next New York best seller, but it’s also a good time to re-organize your files and clean up that desktop.

9. Take photographs. Photographers see the world in ways the rest of us don’t. See what you can discover through the lens of your smartphone.

10. Sleep. I don’t tend to sleep much on airplanes, but even a nap is refreshing and will kill time. I recommend a sleeping mask and earplugs or a noise cancelling headset.

11. Stare out the window. This works for me best during take off and landing. Beyond that, there’s not a lot to see other than clouds and total darkness on overnight flights.

12. Knit or crochet. I’ve seen people do this and I’ve wondered why TSA allows people to board with craft needles, but not cupcakes.

13. Talk to strangers. You’ll notice this is pretty low on the list. While I’m a fairly social person, I don’t really like talking to people on airplanes. But you might like to hear Mrs. Scarsdale tell you all about her grandson’s bar mitzvah or Mr. Granola explain why San Francisco is the best city in the world and why you really should switch to a raw food diet.

14. Get drunk. This might be your key to #10, but I don’t recommend this if you’re one of those angry drunks.

15. Join the Mile High Club. You’ve always wanted to have sex in a tiny lavatory shared by 49 other people. At least it will kill 20 minutes.

What are your favourite ways to stay entertained through a long flight?




  1. hahaha I love the last one! Join the Mile High Club! People have done it but I can’t see why you would bother. Those bathrooms are so tiny!!! (And used by so many other people, ew!)

  2. drinking on a looong flight works if i get bored of my book.

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