24 Things to Do on a Plane When You're Bored

Gabrielle Savoie

Picture this: You're rushing to the airport, iPhone half-dead, without a worry in the world. All you need is for the battery to last until you board the plane so you can breeze through the airport with your boarding pass in your iPhone wallet. Once seated, you know you can expect an outlet to plug in your tech and in-flight WiFi so you can finish a few urgent work tasks before nodding off to your favourite Disney movie or the latest new release. Then you board—and to your shock and horror, there is no outlet, no WiFi, not even an entertainment system!

We've gotten so used to technology being readily available on flights that it's turned us into lazy travellers. While our parents travel with their fully stocked travel wallets, their Sudoku books, their fully charged tech, we board unprepared and hoping for the best. But on the off-chance that your next flight is technology-free, take these tried-and-trusted tricks to keep you entertained. Don't sweat if your entertainment system is broken—we've got everything to keep you busy.

To Keep You Distracted

  • Bring a book. Whether it's a random paperback bought at the airport, a fully charged and fully stocked Kindle, or a carefully chosen novel that takes place in your destination, you'll be happy to have the backup if your entertainment system fails.
  • Watch a new series. Pick one TV show you've been meaning to watch, and download the first season to your iPad. You'll never be short of something to watch.
  • Listen to a podcast. Sync up a few TED Talks, or download your favourite podcasts. You'll enjoy listening to them as you gaze at the clouds outside your window.
  • Play a game. If you're travelling with someone, bring a compact game to play in-flight. When travelling alone, make sure you have a few brain game apps downloaded to your phone to keep you entertained at takeoff and landing.
  • Have a cocktail. Yes, flying is a lot more fun with a cocktail. Make your own, or order a glass of wine—just don't overdo it. Dehydration on aeroplanes is real.
  • Find shapes in the clouds. Make a Spotify playlist before leaving, and make it available offline so you can listen to it while finding fun shapes in the clouds you're flying through.
  • Write postcards. Why spend precious time on your trip to write postcards? Write them on the plane on the way back, and mail them from the airport when you land.
  • Plan your next trip.

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