30 Awesome Things To Do On A Long Flight (To Fight Boredom)

Last Updated: April 22nd, 2024

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Gone are the days of long flights, where boredom hits hard and feels like a waste of time. Do you wish you could get some work done, finish that book you’ve been meaning to, or plan your travel adventure?

These are just some clever ways to use your time when flying short and long haul. As someone who has traveled for most of her adult life, I can safely say that I have picked up some tips and tricks for utilizing time while jetting across the world, and below, I have listed some of the best options.

With technological advances, finding paid or even free Wi-Fi on some airlines is not uncommon, which allows you to take your projects to the next level. So, if you have a flight coming up and wonder how best to make the most of the time spent reaching your destination, you might want to save this article.

Take a look at 30 Things to Do on a Long Flight.

The 30 Things To Do On A Long Flight

1. Catch Up on Work


Yes, this is one of the cleverest things to do on a long-haul flight for obvious reasons. Here, you will have no distractions (hopefully) and a dedicated space where you are guaranteed to be sat for some long hours.

Check before hand if your airline offers Wi-Fi, which will allow you to prepare what you can and cannot do with or without Wi-Fi; no matter what the scenario, you will at least catch up on the most essential offline tasks. Clever right?

This is a fantastic option for remote workers who can make money while flying to their next destination, but it is also an excellent option for workers who have tasks to catch up on from the office, which will take the stress away when they return. It’s a win-win!

2. Watch a Movie

A-Young-Woman-Using Touch-Screen-Airplane

One of the most exciting things to do on a long-haul flight is to catch up on the latest flicks. Find yourself without time to enjoy cinema date nights or family movie nights regularly. This might be the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind, and enjoy the latest Hollywood entertainment.

Flights are an excellent place to do this since airlines can access the newest movies and provide endless food and drinks, which can be seen as your own personal movie theater.

Have you never had time to watch the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy, or haven’t watched Harry Potter since you were a child? This is the perfect time to relive your favorite childhood memories and enjoy without the rush or the guilt.

3. Relax


Believe it or not, this is one of the hardest things to do, especially for those who may have a busy life where they rarely have time to take a breather. Relaxing is the ultimate thing to do on a long-haul flight. Why? Because you have the time!

During long-haul flights, airlines generally provide blankets, pillows, socks, and eye masks, and in business class and first class, you will almost always find comfortable pajamas and more to enhance your experience.

My top tip is to change into the comfiest clothes you have onboard or your complimentary airline PJs, order a hot chocolate or tea, and settle back into your seat for the ultimate me time.

4. Games


If you find yourself traveling with a travel partner, this could be a fun way to pass the time on a long-haul flight. Whether it’s your friends, family, or a business partner you know well, offering up the option to play a game is a great idea, and the time will fly by.

Some great games to take onboard are playing cards, which are versatile and don’t take up space, games on your laptop or iPad, and various other mini-games that are easy to pack into your luggage.

If you are traveling solo, Solitaire is a great one-person card game that is fun, keeps your brain active, and helps pass the time. Pre-loaded games on your phone or in-flight entertainment can also be great options.

5. Read a Book


Let’s face it many of us have books in which we make excuses for not beginning or ending because we may feel like wasting time. On the other hand, some of us don’t have the time to read the books we wish we could – so this is the perfect opportunity.

One of the best things to do on a long-haul flight is to bring a book that you have been meaning to read since you will have plenty of time to enjoy page after page without the rush.

To save space, why not use a Kindle with pre-download books of your choice? This is an excellent option if you would love to bring your books but would rather not pay for extra luggage.

Truth be told, reading a book can fall into the relaxing category, so why not enjoy your favorite book onboard and enjoy the benefits?

6. Get your Steps In


This must be one of the most important things to do on a long-haul flight, which many of us forget to do, especially if we are engrossed in a movie or enjoying endless delicious drinks and snacks.

Yet, getting your steps in during a flight is vital for your health since it increases circulation and prevents potential health issues like blood clots, which can occur when we don’t move our bodies for long periods.

While getting your steps in, it is crucial to keep your body healthy; it is advisable to wear the in-flight socks given to promote circulation. As well as helping with blood circulation, walking up and down the cabin is a surefire way to get some exercise in, and if you find a small space, why not add some stretches in for good measure – providing you are not impeaching on others personal space, of course.

7. Listen to a Podcast


These days, podcasts are just as popular as books or TV shows because they are interactive, readily available, and can be downloaded on the go. Using your go-to podcast app, pre-download some podcasts that interest you and have a range of topics to keep things interesting.

One of the best options is to download a few humorous, informative, and conversational, which will be much more enjoyable than repeating the same theme for the duration of your flight – you will thank yourself later.

Podcasts are an easy option since they take up no space, can be downloaded free of charge, and can be seen as a learning tool, making them an excellent flight choice. In addition, make sure to bring some good headphones to enhance the experience and block out any outside noise.

8. Adult Coloring Books


Believe it or not, coloring is not just for kids; in fact, adult coloring books have become popular in recent years, and not just because they are fun and easy to do.

Adult coloring books have been shown to significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression, and if you are not keen on flying, then this trick can help calm your nerves. The good thing is these books are available in many shops and don’t take up much space, plus they don’t need much attention either.

These books can be combined with mindfulness and relaxation since coloring puts you into a meditative state, which is ideal for having a relaxing rest or a good night’s sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping on planes, this could be a fantastic task to try just before it’s time to get your rest.

9. Learn a Language


For many reasons, this has to be one of the cleverest things to do on a long-haul flight. If you are flying to a new country, this could be the perfect opportunity to pick up a few simple words or phrases, which is always helpful when arriving somewhere unfamiliar.

There are a few ways to do this: with a phrase book, language learning app, or subtitled movies. If you decide to learn a new language, there is no better place to start than on a long-haul flight, so why not give it a go?

The benefit of learning a language on a flight is that the new phrases and words will be fresh in your brain when you land, which means you will appear like a pro in no time.

10. Quizzes and Crosswords


Quizzes are a fun and exciting way to pass time on a long-haul flight, with friends or solo. You can plan this before your flight by gathering the best quiz questions online or downloading a quiz-based app. Other options include bringing mini quiz books and crossword puzzles, which are always a great activity to keep your brain active and focused.

Check your in-flight entertainment system to see if there are quiz or crossword sections to avail yourself of, and if not, you can thank your past self who packed your creative options.

11. Research and Plan Your Journey


If you are on board and still don’t know the best attractions to visit in the city you are flying to or the best way to get around the country, why not take this opportunity to research and plan your journey?

This is particularly easy to do if you have access to onboard Wi-Fi or bring a travel guidebook. If you have planned your journey already, there may be a few things you missed, and this could be the time to make sure everything has been covered.

We all know that researching and planning a new adventure is time-consuming, so why not utilize your time onboard to discover the exciting landmarks, the local language, and the best hotels to stay in?

12. Indulge in Snacks and Drinks


One thing I love about long-haul flights is the chance to try local snacks, gourmet dishes, and bespoke cocktails, which are especially significant on certain airlines.

Most long-haul flights will offer the option to try various drinks – either alcoholic or non-alcoholic- and unlimited snacks for the duration of the flight. This is an excellent opportunity to try local dishes that can prepare you for your arrival and allow you to see what new flavors await.

While indulging in too many cocktails or strong drinks is not wise, trying a few with your meals or watching a movie is enjoyable. Before your flight, check the airline’s website to see what the onboard menu looks like so you can look forward to some delicious treats and specialty drinks. If you are flying Singapore Airlines, you are certainly in for a treat!

13. Make Use of the WiFi


Yes, WiFi is becoming the norm on most long-haul flights, yet some airlines are still not caught up with this technological advancement. If you are lucky enough to fly with an airline that offers this service, there is no better time to surf the internet, catch up with family and friends, or answer emails. The internet is a valuable tool to do almost anything you want, so the choices are endless, yet being connected will make time fast.

While some airlines offer a free sample of their onboard Wi-Fi, others offer a purchased pack that allows you to determine how much data you need. By opting for Wi-Fi, you can get much more done on your flight and find it well worth it.

14. Duty Free Shopping


If there is one thing that many of us look forward to when flying internationally, it is taking advantage of the Duty-Free Shopping. Most airlines will provide a shopping magazine, which allows you to browse the onboard products at unbeatable prices, and this alone could take you over an hour to decide.

This is a great option when flying back to your home country because chances are you won’t want to carry your products around during your trip, but there is no harm in looking during your outbound flight.

Here, you can avail yourself of incredible deals on make-up, gifts, perfume, travel gadgets, and everything else you can think of. If you are a self-proclaimed shopaholic, there is no doubt that this activity will keep you more than occupied.

15. Chat with Your Neighbor


While this can ultimately depend on your neighbor and whether they want to converse, it is still regarded as one of the best things to do on a long-haul flight.

By chatting with your neighbor, you may learn something about the city you are flying to or flying from, learn a few words in a new language, get local tips on your destination, and even make a friend for life. It is not unheard off or many couples to meet on airplanes, so who knows what can happen?

Let’s face it sitting on a long-haul flight without uttering a single word can be tiresome for many, and by engaging with fellow passengers, you will notice the time will pass by quickly, and you will feel much more enriched. Give it a go!

16. Use Face masks


Flying can dehydrate the skin, and you will notice that many people decide to use hydrating creams and face masks when flying a long haul– which is for a great reason. If you are open to the idea, why not pack a few ultra-hydrating face masks, which you can wear while sitting back and binging on your favorite TV show or listening to a podcast?

By doing this, you will notice that your skin is much softer and hydrated upon landing, compared to not using a face mask. If you decide at the last minute to try this skin-boosting option, take the opportunity to check the onboard duty-free products, which almost always include skincare options. And yes, there are face masks for both men and women!

17. Read Magazines & Newspapers


In-flight entertainment is excellent, but reading a casual magazine can be great if you want a break and don’t fancy diving head first into the thriller you brought. Sometimes referred to as glossy magazines, they area laid-back way to enjoy the latest fashion trends, read up on celebrity gossip, and find out the best travel destinations of the year.

Newspapers are a great option to catch up on the latest local or international news, so whatever your preferences, be sure to pack one for your long-haul flight.

Airports are generally a great place to pick up magazines and newspapers, so take time to explore the various options and choose one that suits you. Airlines provide an in-flight magazine, yet it might not be enough for the duration of the flight, so always take another option just in case.

18. Meditate


Whether you have tried meditation before or this is your first time, there is no better place to start than in the comfort of your seat onboard a long-haul flight.

One of the main things to do is to make sure you are sitting comfortably, and it is advised to meditate during the quietest time of the flight rather than during mealtimes when there are many distractions around and delicious smells wafting through the air.

Meditation is a great way to aid a restful night’s sleep, clear your mind, and reduce anxiety; it is beneficial if you are a nervous passenger. Before your flight, download a few meditation podcasts that will guide you through the process, and chances are you will feel incredibly relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready for your upcoming adventure.

19. Bing Your Favorite TV Show


One of the BEST things to do on a long-haul flight is binge-watching your favorite TV show. Airlines tend to have a mind-blowing selection of TV shows and movies, so chances are you will find something you like.

From Friends and The Office to The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, there are plenty of hilarious comedies to choose from, as well as crime, romance, and reality-themed TV shows.

Many of us don’t find the time or perhaps feel guilty for enjoying the shows we love, but there is no reason not to during a long-haul flight.

20. Write a Journal


Writing a journal can be an excellent way to express your thoughts and feelings, but while traveling to a new destination, perhaps this is the perfect time to begin a travel diary. Whatever you decide, this is the ideal opportunity to give it a go and get your thoughts flowing.

When packing for your trip, try to add a brand-new diary if you have never journaled before, and make the plane journey the beginning of a new chapter.

If you already have a journal, take this with you. This could be the perfect time to catch up on diary entries or experiences you have not had time for.

21. Be Creative


There are many ways to express creativity perhaps you already have a hobby that describes yours. Do you love to make bracelets or earrings? Do you enjoy writing music, knitting, or possibly making art? These hobbies are excellent ways to spend your time on a long-haul flight, but of course, it may not be the right place to bring all your art supplies, especially paint or brushes.

Instead, bring the minimal tools you need to be creative in a small space, such as charms for bracelets, a drawing pad, or a notebook to write lyrics or music. There is no better time to express yourself creatively than soaring high in the clouds and being inspired by the infinite sky at your window.

22. Do a Puzzle


If quizzes or card games are not your thing, you might want to try a small puzzle. I say small because you won’t have enough space to embark on an extensive puzzle journey unless you are flying in First or Business class, where you will have more space.

If you love puzzles but don’t want to make a mess – it’s not easy to find a puzzle piece on an airplane floor, you might consider the age-old Rubik’s cube, which is just as fun.

In addition to Rubik’s cubes, you can opt for other challenging travel puzzles, or perhaps you are a fan of Sudoku; in that case, bringing a small Sudoku puzzle is perfect for a long-haul flight.

23. Listen to Music


Listening to music is one of the best things to do on a long-haul flight and is probably one of the most common things to do besides eating and watching movies. This activity is so versatile that you can pre-load music on your phone or tablet before your flight or choose from an extended selection of music built into your airline’s entertainment system.

This is a great way to listen to music you might not have had the chance to listen to before, and it sets the tone for an enjoyable flight.

We all know that the music we enjoy boosts our mood, so this is a great way to relax, enjoy the experience, and catch up on your favorite songs and artists. Undoubtedly, your neighbors may be encouraged to do the same when they see you happily getting into the rhythm.

24. Get Organized


Do you have appointments you need to organize, or perhaps it’s been a while since your last trip, and you still haven’t sorted your photos? One of the best things to do during a long-haul flight is to get organized with the help of your laptop.

Here, you can look through old photos and videos, browse albums or notes you have made, and organize them into folders. This is especially great for photographers who may have thousands of pictures on their camera or laptop and have not had the time to select the best ones.

In addition to getting organized, this is a great activity that will pass the time, and you won’t need to be connected to the airline’s internet to do it. Your future self will thank you for your excellent organizing skills, and you can even use this as a plan to stay on track with photos, etc.

25. Study


Yes, we must admit this is one of the best things you can do on a long-haul flight, especially if you are studying and have upcoming exams. Many students find it challenging to dedicate enough time to studying even though they would like to, yet time is of the essence when flying long distances, which makes this the perfect scenario to open the books.

When flying, it is sometimes essential to keep luggage to a minimum, so to avoid carrying books, why not download articles, quizzes, or take photos of diagrams you will need to learn?

On the other hand, if you are not a student but are eager to pick up a new hobby or skill, you can use the time to study the topic, and you will be surprised how much you can learn during a long-haul flight. Start by downloading study material, videos, and quizzes to enable you to begin the onboard learning journey.

26. Seated Yoga


If you thought you needed to be in a yoga studio with a yoga mat and soft, relaxing music, you would be wrong – it helps, of course. As we mentioned earlier, stretching and walking on a long-haul flight is advised to help increase your circulation, and so is seated Yoga.

This is an excellent way to prevent stiff joints and muscles, muscle pain, and increase flexibility in your spine. Plenty of seated yoga positions are ideal for a long-haul flight, including ‘Seated Cat Pose,’ ‘Seated Spinal Twist,’ and ‘Back Release Pose,’ all of which will work wonders for your body.

It is also essential to move your feet and legs to prevent any muscle pain or blood clotting in your calves and swollen ankles, which is a common occurrence on long flights. Try doing some ankle rotations, calf stretches, and heel stretches, all of which can be done while listening to music, watching a movie, or a podcast.

27. Take Photos


This is a particularly perfect thing to do for people with the sought-after window seat. If you are traveling long haul, chances are you will see a sunset, sunrise, dusk or dawn, all of which are the perfect settings for photos from the sky.

If, on the other hand, you are flying across somewhere unique like the Alps, the Sahara Desert, or the Pacific Islands, you will want to keep your camera ready. If you are a photographer, this could be an ideal activity for you, but everyone can enjoy it, especially when the scenery allows it.

Snapping the sights is a way of making memories, so even though you may have the movie of the year on your screen, always keep an eye on the scenery outside, which could be a mind-blowing photo opportunity.

28. Strike up a Conversation with the Crew


Cabin Crew have one of the most exciting jobs on earth, and plenty of them enjoy conversing with passengers when they are not busy. Chatting with the Crew when time allows is a great way to get to know them, perhaps gain tips from the destination you are flying to, or see what flying as a career is like from their perspective.

Air Stewards and Stewardesses are often very friendly and welcoming, which makes them very suited to their job, so why not chat with them and enhance your experience flying long haul? Usually, we don’t have time to enjoy a chat with the Crew when flying a short distance, but this is a perfect opportunity to do just that.

29. Clean Up Your Email Inbox


If you are still searching for things to do on a long-haul flight, you might want to consider sorting out your email inbox. Let’s face it many of us have thousands upon thousands of emails, which we tend to ignore, but if you are bored on your long-haul flight, this is certainly something that will take a little bit of time to organize.

While this may be the last thing you want to do on a flight, you will probably have an hour or two to manage at least some of your inboxes.

This is an excellent option if you have access to the internet, but if not, it may be wise to try one of the other things listed here – of which there are many choices.

30. Drink Water


This is one of the most important things to do on a long-haul flight since this is the prime scenario to decrease hydration in your body. One of the best ways to ensure you stay healthy during your flight is to drink a large bottle of water with electrolyte powder while waiting to board your flight. In addition, drinking water through out the flight is crucial, especially alongside alcohol or caffeinated drinks.

Suppose you have space try to take a few electrolyte sachets or vitamin C powder onto the plane, which you can mix with water and sip through out your flight. This, along with exercise and face masks, can ensure you stay as healthy as possible.

About The Author

Jade is a seasoned traveller, yoga enthusiast, adventure seeker and travel writer passionate about seeing the world and sharing hidden gems with others. As well as having travelled to 91 countries thus far, she has written for several websites and published her first book ‘The Ultimate Irish Road Trip Guide’. She is a keen writer of satirical articles, as well as ‘The best things to do’ and ‘The best dishes to try’ around the globe. Jade is currently on a campervan adventure around Europe, where she continues to get her travel and food inspiration. She is excited to share what she discovers with her readers.

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Picture of Jade Poleon

Jade Poleon

Jade is a seasoned traveller, yoga enthusiast, adventure seeker and travel writer passionate about seeing the world and sharing hidden gems with others. As well as having travelled to 91 countries thus far, she has written for several websites and published her first book ‘The Ultimate Irish Road Trip Guide’. She is a keen writer of satirical articles, as well as ‘The best things to do’ and ‘The best dishes to try’ around the globe. Jade is currently on a campervan adventure around Europe, where she continues to get her travel and food inspiration. She is excited to share what she discovers with her readers.

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