“You’re like a five-year-old child.” Says my sleep-deprived, frustrated husband who sits in the airplane seat next to me.
Yes, it’s true, I don’t handle flights well. It’s not that I have flight anxiety, it’s the fact that I get bored so fast. Once the plane wheels leave the ground, I go a little bit stir crazy. I spend the first 30 minutes combing the in-fight magazines to check out the food and drink service, and see what sorts of tacky things the airline has for sale.
Does anyone ever buy the airline souvenirs? After that, the fun begins.
I’m not sure why, but airplane seats seem to be the least comfortable seats in the whole world. It would be great if you only had to fly an hour or two, but living overseas guarantees you at least a few 8+ hour flights a year. Also, I’m not one of those lucky people who get upgraded every time they fly; In fact, I’ve never been upgraded to business class or first class, so I have no idea how things work up there. Back in economy class, after the initial 30 minutes of flying I start fidgeting, trying to find the most comfortable way to sit. Usually this entails draping my legs over poor sleeping Derik’s lap, crossing them a million different ways, or shoving them as far under the seat in front of me as possible. All the while trying not to bump the seat in front of me. We all know that’s annoying.
My husband on the other hand has fallen asleep even before the safety demonstration has begun, and is throwing major z’s into the stale airplane air, so forget having someone to talk to (unless I’m willing to face the fury of a man who has not had enough sleep-we all know how horrid that can be). I then have to figure out a way to occupy my time for the remaining several hours of the flight. No, sleeping is not an option-never has, never will be
unless it’s drug induced.
Anyway. The remaining post is filled with ideas to occupy your time aboard a plane. These ideas have been tested, tried, and true for the long haul fights I’ve already had this year (Korea-Hawaii, Hawaii-Thailand, Korea-New Zealand). Here’s to hoping they’ll help me out on my way back to the US next Monday for my brother’s wedding!
1. Candy Crush- Yes. I crush it, but only when I’m on flights. Also, how annoying is it when you run out of lives? The plus side of being on a plane for 13+ hours is that you have plenty of time to stomp some candy crush levels, as well as wait for your lives to regenerate. Candy crush is an easy game to occupy your mind and fingers. Also it’s not super distracting for the person next to you. Just make sure your sound is off and the screen isn’t annoyingly bright! I also make sure to bring a portable charger to recharge my phone/ipad once my battery starts dying.
2. Read a book/magazine- I’ve never been much of a book reader, but once I start flying, I love filling my mind with new stories and adventures. I try to download a book or two on Derik’s iPad before we leave on a trip. I also have a couple subscription magazines on the iPad that I keep up-to-date for travel only. Since we travel every few months, I have at least 3 new issues of each subscription to read!
3. Write blog posts- One of my favorite things to do is bring pen and paper with me on a flight. I love writing down thoughts, ideas, and dreams. Sometimes these turn into blog posts, sometimes I just keep them for myself. There’s nothing more awesome than having the time to pre-write two weeks worth of blog posts, and feeling inspired to do so! Sitting in a boring airplane cabin may just do that for you.
4. Drink free alcohol – Best part about international fights? The free booze. Derik’s a whiskey and coke kind of guy, but I always go for the wine. I’m not huge on getting tipsy while flying, but 2-3 servings calms me right down.
5. Explore the plane – I actually don’t like walking around the cabin. I just feel like everyone’s watching me, and I’m disturbing them by walking past. I know, sometimes I’m super weird about stuff like this, and Derik makes fun of me for it. Feel free to laugh!
That being said, after 6+ hours of flying, it’s actually really good for you to get up and stretch your legs. Just try to be quiet and keep from bumping into people as you walk past them in the aisle.
6. Catch up on current TV shows – Although we usually get the planes that are like 100 years old that barely have overhead TV monitors, once in a blue moon we’ll get one that has personal entertainment consoles. When that happens, both Derik and I know the flight will be awesome. Mostly because the entertainment section can keep me entertained for hours (Yes, remember the 5-year-old child reference).
In the very likely chance that we aren’t graced with personal consoles, I bring my own TV entertainment. I like to keep tabs on shows people are watching, and write them down periodically. When we leave for a long trip, I buy a season or two via iTunes to watch on my computer, iPad, or phone. We all know it’s so easy to waste a day with a TV show marathon, so why not waste those long hours on a flight?
Speaking of…does anyone have any good shows they’re addicted to? I need to buy a season or two for my trip!
7. Play a game of cards – Getting old school on you here, but I actually enjoy playing a game of solitaire in flight. I can’t ever get Derik to join me in a card game (remember he’s sleeping), so solitaire is the perfect one-person card game. It’s quiet, can last a long time, and is relaxing on the mind. I used to have a smaller 1/2 size deck of cards, and it was perfect for tray tables. Now after moving to New Zealand, I have no idea where they went.
8. Photo-editing – On return flights, I love going through all the pictures I took over the trip, and enjoy getting them ready to post online. It can be super time-consuming sorting, cropping, editing, and resizing photos, so if you have extra time on your hands to get it done all at once, take advantage of it!
Clearly photo-editing is done on a computer, so if you’re on a red-eye flight, I wouldn’t suggest starting up your gigantic laptop (why is that startup noise always so loud), and blinding everyone in the rows to the left and right of you as you sit for hours going through your pictures. Be considerate.
9. Watch the sunrise/sunset/storm outside your window – One of the coolest experiences of my life was watching a gigantic lightning storm outside the airplane window. We were directly over the storm, and I’ve never seen lightning dance around and flash so much. The storm went on for a good 30 minutes before we passed. It was so beautiful, I’ll never forget.
If you want to see something equally amazing, be sure you’re awake for the sunrise or sunset. Watching the sun meet the horizon is breathtaking from an airplane!
10. Take sleeping pills – Last resort? Take sleeping pills. I wouldn’t suggest this if you’re flying alone, as they can be seriously disorientating. There’s nothing worse than waking up confused and groggy after a long flight, and then have to race through the terminals by yourself trying to catch your next flight. If you have to take sleeping pills and you’re traveling alone, give herbal supplements a try. They’ll naturally increase melatonin levels (meaning they’ll help you sleep), but leave you less dazed than regular sleeping pills when it’s time to wake up.
I’ll be traveling over 36 hours alone both ways from here to Texas, so I’m hoping the 10 tips above will help me survive the trip on Monday. What are your suggestions on passing the time on a long flight?! I’m open to anything and everything!