What to do on a plane: Tips for travellers

Long haul flights can be tiring.

Especially if you come unprepared.

Have you got a long flight ahead of you? It’s an 8+ hour flight and now you are wondering how to spend this time? How to kill time on a plane? What to do on a plane for this long? Well, one of the best things you can do on a long flight is to sleep.

Especially if it’s an overnight flight.

But it’s not gonna work for everyone. Many people just can’t sleep on planes or any other kind of transportation. Then how to pass time on a plane?

People sitting at the airport

First of all, make sure you have some sort of entertainment. Anything that you like to do for hours on end. So you can keep yourself occupied during the long hours of flight.

If you are sure that the airline you are flying with offers an in-flight entertainment, and you are not picky when it comes to movies and music, then you are sorted. But remember, that not all airlines offers it. That’s why it’s something worth double checking.

Here we’re sharing some of our best tips for first time flyers and globetrotters alike.

Scroll down to grab some ideas from us.

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What to do on a plane

1. In-flight entertainment

Now travelling long haul is way cooler than it used to be.

Planes are getting more and more comfortable. And not only planes, also buses and trains.

Airlines now also are offering in-flight entertainment systems free of charge even for their economy class passengers. Because keeping their customers - us - satisfied is very important.

Some of the best airlines for in-flight entertainment are: Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates.

But you don’t have to fly with the best 5 star airlines to enjoy in-flight entertainment.

Inflight entertainment screen

Norwegian, Norway-based budget airline that also offers long haul flights, also has a great entertainment system with plenty of movies, music and TV shows. Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier airline of Turkey, also has a good entertainment system.

Good news for those traveling with kids: in-flight entertainment systems usually also have kid’s movies and shows.

Note, that entertainment system may not be available on short flights.

While in-flight entertainment is offered on almost all wide body jets, not every narrow body jet will have one.

Despite it being 2019, some airlines are still stuck in the past, and still provide only a central screen.

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Reading a book on an ebook reader

2. What if… there’s no in-flight entertainment

What to do on a plane which doesn’t have an in-flight entertainment screen? How to kill time on a plane? What to do if it’s a long-haul flight?

Here are some options.

Things to do on a long flight:

  • Sleep,
  • Listen to music,
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Listen to an audiobook,
  • Read a book / e-book,
  • Read a magazines and / or newspapers,
  • Watch a movie, TV show or series,
  • Do some work on your laptop,
  • Plan your day / trip,
  • Write a journal,
  • Play a game on your smartphone or tablet,
  • Learn a language,
  • Study,
  • Talk to your neighbour,
  • Walk around a bit.

The best thing to do on a plane, especially if it’s a long haul flight, is to sleep.

But not everyone can sleep on a plane. If you are one of those people, and you want to get some rest on a plane, try to relax by listening to soothing music. Soothing music helps you steer your mind away from your problems and help you relax and fall asleep.

See more long haul flight tips & learn how to sleep on a plane.

Reading a book is the second best thing after sleeping.

If you travel often, get yourself a Kindle or other e-book reader. An e-book reader can hold hundreds of books, and weights only a couple of hundreds grams.

If you plan to watch movies / TV shows or listen to music during the flight, download the content at home. Internet in the airport can be unreliable, and certainly there won’t be that good internet connection on the plane, if any at all. Yes, some airlines offer free WiFi even for their economy class passengers, but it’s not enough for streaming and downloading content.

If you are feeling productive, do some work on your laptop.

Get stuff done, and reward yourself with more free time for exploring the city you are traveling to.

Also you can read a guide book and plan your trip if you haven’t already. Or make a detailed plan for days you don’t have a plan.

Remember, you are not allowed to use your laptop during takeoff and landing. However, most European airlines now allow passengers to use their small electronic devices, such as an e-book reader, tablet computer and smartphone, during takeoff and landing, but the devices have to be in airplane mode.

Bring a power bank to charge your gadgets. Just in case.

Man sitting at the airport

What to do at the airport

What to do when you get to the airport?

  1. Check the status of your flight, to see if it isn't delayed or cancelled. Here you can learn what to do if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

  2. Check in, if you haven't yet.

  3. Proceed through airport security and look for your gate.

You have to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure. Sometimes, even three, if it’s an intercontinental flight. Why? So that you make to your gate in time, even if there are long queues at the check-in counter and in the security check.

But if there are no long lines?

Then you will be at your gate very early.

So, the question is - how to kill time at the airport?

How to kill time at the airport

Basically, you can do the same things you would do to kill time on a plane. Read a book, watch a movie or a TV show, listen to music or a podcast.

But as there is a long flight ahead of you, we would suggest you to get up and move around instead of sitting.

There will be plenty of time for that on the plane.

Have a light meal and a healthy drink (smoothie, freshly squeezed juice) before your flight, especially if you are flying with a low cost airline and / or your ticket does not include a meal. Check out our healthy eating tips to learn what to eat at the airport and what better not.

Not all airports are created equal.

Singapore Changi airport - One of the world's best airports

There are several great airports that offer various entertainment options. A good example is Singapore Changi Airport which is voted the World’s Best Airport for 7th consecutive year. It has various attractions which are free of charge.

If you have a layover in a small European airport (such as London Luton Airport or Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport), well, just walk around. Or otherwise you'll be reduced to sitting, as there is nothing much to do and nowhere really to go.

See more things you can do at the airport.

And here is a list of things you should never do at the airport.

Bon voyage!

Remember - whenever your flight is delayed, cancelled or you've been denied boarding - you might be entitled to flight compensation. Contact us to get it sorted out right away!