Flying can be exciting, but it can also be a bit monotonous after a while. Depending on the length of your flight, you might be looking for some good things to do on a plane.
In this article, we are sharing some cool things you can do to pass time on a plane (and to distract yourself if you don’t love flying).
If you have a particularly long journey ahead of you, don’t miss our guides on how to get through a long flight and how to reduce jetlag.
But for now – let’s have a look at some basic things you can do on the plane.
- 1 Talk to people
- 2 Read a book
- 3 Play a game
- 4 Watch a show/movie
- 5 Listen to music
- 6 Look through your photos
- 7 Take pictures
- 8 Surf the web
- 9 Practice a language
- 10 Prepare for your trip
- 11 Write a story or a journal
- 12 Write down your bucket list
- 13 Make a drawing
- 14 Pick up the airline’s magazine
- 15 Do some work
- 16 Enjoy a meal
- 17 Have a drink
- 18 Sleep
- 19 Stretch your legs
- 20 Meditate
- 21 Plan your next trip
- 22 Visualize the future
- 23 Enjoy the view
Talk to people
A great way to pass time is to talk to the person – or persons – sitting next to you.
Perhaps you are traveling with friends or family. In that case, striking up a conversation is easy. If you are sitting next to a stranger, try talking to them. Maybe you’ll get along well. If the person next to you isn’t in the mood for a conversation, no big deal, there are plenty of things to do on the plane!
Read a book
One of the most traditional ways to pass time on a plane is to read a book. A lot of passengers bring a book when they fly. And if you have a long flight, you can actually get through quite a lot of pages.
Reading a book has many benefits – it takes your attention away from the surroundings. It also makes time pass quicker, makes you smarter, and increases your concentration.
So bring your favorite book for the flight. It can be in physical format, it can be an e-book, on the Kindle, or on your tablet. If you don’t have a book to read at the moment, buy one at the airport. Almost all airports have a bookshop or at least a general shop where they sell books.
Play a game
You can also play a game. Again, this is easier if you are traveling with someone, because in that case, you can play together. Bringing a deck of cards or a magnetic chessboard is a really good idea.
Thanks to the fact that we are living in the digital age, you can also just play games on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Download a few apps before taking off and enjoy playing while you fly!
Watch a show/movie
Watching a show or a movie also makes a lot of sense. Many airlines are equipped with screens on the back of the seats in front and they have a selection of content you can watch. This is more common on longer flights than it is on shorter ones.
If you are bringing your own laptop or tablet, you can watch a movie or a series there. It is one of the easiest ways to pass a few hours while flying. If the plane doesn’t have WiFi, make sure you have downloaded a couple of movies or series to your digital unit before boarding.
Listen to music
Listening to music is something that most people love. It is certainly a great activity on a plane, too. Download some music for your phone, or save it offline in an app like Spotify or Apple Music, and listen to it during your flight. It is yet another great way to pass a few hours and shut off the surroundings.
Just make sure you have some noise-canceling earphones (or a headset) so that you can actually hear the sounds. Airplanes can be a bit loud, so noise-canceling sound equipment is fully worth the investment. If you travel first class or business class, some airlines hand out noise-canceling sound equipment for free.
Look through your photos
On the way back from your trip, you can spend some time looking at the photos you took. Or you can just take a look at old photos on your phone. A great way to distract yourself and place your thoughts somewhere else.
What about taking new pictures? Flying in a plane is something that most people only do once in a while. If you are inside an impressive airplane, take some pictures of it. If you have a window seat, take some pictures of the landscapes. Sometimes you can see a lot, even when you are up high.
Surf the web
Nowadays, many airlines offer Wi-Fi in-flight. This makes any flight significantly less boring. Because if you have access to the internet while flying, you can chat with your friends, access online content, and basically surf the web. This is a tremendous way to pass time, especially if you have some specific interest you can delve into online.
Practice a language
Are you learning a new language? If so, spend the time productively on the plane and keep learning. This is particularly useful if you are traveling to a country where they speak a different language. So why not pick up some new words?
You can practice a language by downloading a language learning app such as Duolingo or Babbel. You can also bring a traditional textbook on board, or you can go through your own notes and memorize new words and sentences. Alternatively, watch a movie or a series where they speak in the language you are trying to learn or listen to music in the particular language.
Prepare for your trip
On your way to the destination? Try to do some basic planning for your trip. Think about what to do when you land, whether to take a taxi to the hotel, or whether to try another method of transportation. Think about what you want to eat for dinner once you arrive. Write down the things you want to see and make a loose schedule. At least a list of important things to do when the holiday truly begins.
Write a story or a journal
Writing is another great activity. Bring a notebook plus a pen and write your story. It can be a fictional story, or you can write about your own journal as you travel.
Write down your bucket list
Maybe you already have a bucket list. If not – try making one! As you are flying, you can write down the things you would like to do in life. Keep it and accomplish as many things as possible.
To get some inspiration, read our travel-themed bucket list here.
Make a drawing
Drawing is a good alternative to writing. If you are the creative type, try to spend time drawing. It is a fun activity to do on the plane and you can keep the drawing as a souvenir from the journey.
Pick up the airline’s magazine
If you haven’t brought anything inside the plane, you are dependent on the entertainment that the airline offers you. Almost all airlines have a magazine placed right in front of the seat. Browse through it because it’s always a solid way to kill 20-30 minutes.
Do some work
Can you work from your laptop? If you can, do it on the plane. It’s one of the ways you can be productive with your time.
This tip is particularly useful for travel bloggers and online entrepreneurs who work from their laptops. Working online is arguably the greatest job ever thanks to the freedom it gives you, and if you do work online, this is the best way to be productive during your flight.
Enjoy a meal
A way to make a flight more enjoyable is to have a meal on board. Sure, the airline meals aren’t always the best, but if you are hungry and need to pass some minutes, it’s a decent option. On most long-distance flights, a meal is included. If a meal is not included, they almost always have some meals that you can buy. It is also possible to buy sandwiches and salads at airports – you can bring those with you and eat inside the airplane.
Have a drink
While the meals aren’t always great on board an airplane, the drinks never fail to disappoint. Grabbing a beer, a soda, or a glass of wine is a nice way to make the trip just a little bit more enjoyable.
If you are the type of person who is comfortable sleeping inside an airplane, by all means, do it. Sleeping is by far the easiest way to make time pass, and it never hurts to get some additional rest.
Stretch your legs
It is important to keep your body in good shape. But on airplanes, we often sit down for hours and don’t move much. The best option we have for some movement is to get up from the seat and walk up and down the aisle. This is completely acceptable on all flights once you are well up in the air, and you should take advantage of that. Sometimes, the back of the airplane is somewhat empty, so here you can do additional stretches, or even bodyweight exercises such as push-ups or squats, just to keep the blood flowing. Just make sure you aren’t getting in the way of anybody.
Meditation is possible on an airplane and it can actually be very beneficial. Of course, you can’t really get into a yoga pose, but you can sit in a normal position in the seat and get into a meditative mind.
Plan your next trip
If you are coming home from a trip, start planning the next one. Think about where you want to go. It is okay to have several ideas – write them all down and try to find out when it is possible to go! If you have the internet on the flight, it is easy to do some research and to get inspired.
Visualize the future
This suggestion relates a bit to planning, meditation, as well as the bucket list. Try to envision your future and all the things you would like to do. In our daily lives, we don’t always get the opportunity to just sit and think, but you do get that when you are inside a plane. So try to visualize the future you want to have. Once you step out of the plane after landing, it is time to go make it all come true!
Enjoy the view
Lastly, if you have a window seat, you can just sit and enjoy the view. It is always fun to watch the takeoff and the landing. If conditions aren’t too cloudy, you might also be lucky enough to see the landscapes that you are flying over. Enjoying the view is a very underrated activity on an airplane, so enjoy it if you can. Most airlines allow you to pick your own seat prior to the flight, often for a very small fee. Pick the window seat if you want to enjoy the view!