Everyone dreads having to take a long flight. The lack of space, privacy and the ability to just move around as much as you would like is a real pain in the neck, literally and physically. Let's face it, long flights are boring, there is no way around that. Passing the time in an enjoyable manner takes a little bit of pre-planning. You will want to pack some items into your carry-on to help you pass the time in the best possible way.
If you are really lucky, your flight will have individual on board entertainment. This allows you to play games and watch the movie of your choice, from their selection of course. While not all airplanes have this options the ones that do are a godsend. Hours of entertainment at your fingertips without the bother of carrying on any electronic equipment and frankly what I like best is checking the progress our flight is making, you can track the entire trip. It makes it seem not nearly as long.
Depending on how long your flight is you may choose to bring a newspaper, magazine or that book you have been meaning to read. There are some overseas flights where you may want to bring along all three. These long flights are the perfect time to catch up on business reading as well.
There are many different kinds of puzzle books, everyone has their favorite, Sudoku, crosswords, word search and logic puzzles. All of these can offer hours of entertainment and brain stimulation as well.
Sometimes you just want to close your eyes and listen to your favorite songs. You can also learn a new language or listen to a book. Let’s face it, it is a lot easier to have a new book you are interested in downloaded into your PDA instead of having to carry the actual book.
Watching a favorite movie or one that you have been meaning to watch is a great way to pass at least two hours. If you bring along several movie you are good for a transatlantic flight.
While this is bulky to carry unless you have one of the new very small laptops and getting through the TSA checkpoint is a real drag, once you are on the flight your laptop can be the difference between a boring flight and one where you accomplish a lot of work. This is the perfect time to write articles, organize your photos, type up some long overdue letters and even balance your checkbook. When you get tired of being good, a few games of Solitaire, Free Cell or Candy Crush will be an enjoyable respite.
Take a nap
On a very long flight, ask the steward or stewardess for a pillow and a blanket and get comfortable. If you bring along an eye mask you can shut the outside world out especially if you have your PDA playing your favorite tunes in your ears. There is nothing better than getting a few minutes sleep, especially on a trans-Atlantic flight. Jet lag is always an issue and a nice nap can be a big help.
Get up and walk around
This is good advice on any long flight, it helps you avoid some of the medical problems that can result. In order to get up however if you are not in the aisle seat, you must get the person or persons between you and the aisle to also get up. This may become a problem if one of them has followed the advice to take a nap. If you can't get up stretch your arms and legs as much as possible and try changing positions, it makes it less uncomfortable, at least for a while.
If you are solo then I am afraid it is going to be solitaire for you. If, however, you are with one or two others then it is easy to play setback, rummy or pinochle. As long as you have a deck of cards along, you can look forward to many hours of fun.
Passing the time on a long flight is not hard if you plan ahead and keep your sense of humor. Take the time to relax, to catch up on some things that you have been wanting to do and visualize yourself arrive at your final destination.
My personal photo of a plane in flight.