How To Stay Sane and Pass Time on Long Flights

by James Hills for Club LT

I fly a lot and while on-board entertainment is a lot better than it used to be, flying still is a long boring activity with lots of time and not much to do to fill it. One of my biggest challenges is that being trapped in a metal tube jammed into seats that are more suitable to a 12 year old boy than a nearly 40 year old man is the fact that you can’t really move around. For me, that means that my legs get restless and my belly gets rumbly … that unfortunately only makes the situation worse and god help the person in front of me if they steal my space by reclining their seat into my lap!

Luckily though, flying doesn’t have to be all bad. Over the years I’ve managed to develop a handful of ways to cope with the inconvenience so I’m going to share my tips for staying sane and passing time on a long flight.

Get snacks ahead of time

The easiest thing to fix here is to make sure to get a good snack or two to help make sure you don’t get too hungry. While airlines used to give out peanuts it seems like most don’t these days. Peanuts are a fantastic snack since they have protein, taste great, and have a satisfying crunch when you bite into them. Walnuts, cashews, yogurt-covered raisins, they’re all good. Get them at your local store before you get to the airport, as the airport snack prices will be higher. Much higher in many instances.

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 Load your phone / tablet with movies

This is an easy thing to do these days since there are so many places to get movies on to your mobile devices that I’ve found many airlines have simply stopped showing video entertainment except on very long flights. Make sure you aren’t at the whim of watching a rom-com by packing your screen with your favorite action, sci-fi, or comedy shows and that will absolutely help you kill a couple hours.

Wear a good headset to dampen the noise

Even if you aren’t going to watch a movie or listen to music that wearing a good pair of headphones makes flying a lot more enjoyable. While it won’t eliminate all outside noise it will dampen the roar of the engines, the crying babies, and the chatter of the people in back of you. 

Play some mental games

Mental games are going to be your friend here and it’s even better if you have a buddy with you to play against. Some examples would include a challenge hunt – “find someone with red hair” or “find someone wearing a baseball hat”. Others ideas would include simply counting games. For example: how many people are on the flight, how many window shades are open, how long does it take to have the call light answered. These might sound insane but it’s a good way to keep the mind busy rather than focusing on how cramped and hungry you are sitting in your seat.

Do in-seat exercises

While you can’t do much in the plane, there are some things that you can do. While seated, this includes rotating your feet to keep blood flowing as well as occasionally twisting your torso and neck so that blood continues to flow easily. Additionally, I recommend that on any flight over 3 hours that you should stand up and take a walk to the bathroom at least once. Even if you don’t have to pee, this is a chance to kill 5-10 minutes and stretch.

About James Hills
James writes the ManTripping blog and lives in southern California. For more than a decade, ManTripping has been a leading male lifestyle blog covering food, fashion, travel, toys, action and adventure – you know, man-things. James shares his wisdom regularly on Club LT and is often featured in the Club LT podcast.

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