The 5 best ways to pass the time on a long-haul flight

Five tips that will help you pass the time on a long-haul flight.


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Passengers enjoying the Emirates US lounges can also have the chance to savor the local specialties of potato gratin with chocolate chip sour cream cake for dessert. Photo: Emirates

Are you intimidated by the prospect of being on a long-haul flight for hours on end? If so, you’re not alone, because being stuck in a stuffy airplane cabin for eight hours or more can feel like an eternity. You can, however, alleviate this nightmare with a little preparation and some comfort at home. Before we get into our five best ways to pass the time on a long-haul flight, let’s first take a look at what you can do to prepare for your trip.


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Use the time to do work. Photo: American Airlines

Where you sit matters

While it’s not so crucial for people flying first class or business class, where you sit in economy class can make a huge difference to the flight. If you want more legroom, reserve a seat in an exit aisle. If you don’t want to have crying babies to keep you awake, sit in the back of the plane, as the bassinets are always located in the bulkhead row seats.

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Make sure you choose a good seat. Photo: American Airlines

Choose an aisle seat if you have to go to the bathroom a lot or if you like to get up and stretch your legs. If you are left-handed, sit on the right side of the plane and right-handed on the left side of the plane. By doing this, nothing will hit you when you try to eat.

Home comforts

Do not overload your hand luggage, but bring some comfort items for the flight. All airlines offer a meal service on long-haul flights, but the quality of that meal will depend on the carrier. A good idea is to bring some snacks like energy bars.


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Meals in Singapore Airlines premium economy class. Photo: Singapore Airlines

If you’ve never tried one, invest in a good travel pillow, along with noise canceling headphones and an eye mask. The headphones will be much better than the ones distributed by the airlines, and the pillow and mask will help you sleep better. On a long-haul flight, remember to stay well hydrated and get up every two hours when you’re not sleeping to stretch your legs.

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Tips for passing the time on a long-haul flight


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Watch a recently released movie. Photo: American Airlines

The five best ways to pass the time on a long-haul flight are:

  1. Keep your mind sharp by downloading the New York Times crossword app from the Google Play Store. The application is free and offers puzzles for all levels of crossword puzzler.
  2. Bring a good book for the flight or download an audiobook, music or podcast to your phone or tablet. Remember that airlines have hundreds of TV shows and movies that you can watch on demand these days. More than likely, there will be a new movie available that you haven’t seen.
  3. You rarely have several hours of silence during which the phone does not ring or no one knocks on the door. Use the time spent on the plane to catch up on your connection or to do work.
  4. Although you’ve probably already planned your trip and accommodations, you may not have researched places to eat or go on an excursion. Use the Lonely Planet Guide App or Tripadvisor and read where you are going. If you are going to a country that does not speak your native language, take the opportunity to learn a few new words in the language used where you are going. Although you probably won’t be fluent after several hours of studying on the plane, you can say please and thank you and order a beer!
  5. Look out the window during take-off and landing, and if you’re traveling near the Arctic Circle in winter, you might be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights dancing across the sky – as I did once in flying from New York to Preswick.



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