I don’t even know how many times I flew in my life. Sadly I don’t remember my first flight, well let me think… Maybe it was Sardinia or maybe Algeria. In any case I am not sure. Back then I used to fly with my family, then little by little I starting doing that on my own and now I just can’t stop!
And no, I don’t find it boring at all.
So here are all the things I do during flights, that may help you spending your time on board or aircrafts without getting too bored.
1 – I enjoy the takeoff
This is my favorite part of the journey. Make sure you get a window seat and look outside of the window, see the ground getting far… this gives you a last glimpse on the city you’re leaving and it’s fun to look for landmarks and places you visited from above. It’s not as easy as it seems!
I usually keep watching until the clouds cover the view. And when there are no clouds I can easily spend the entire flight with my forehead pressed against the window!
2 – I check the route
I take out the inflight magazine and go straight to the last pages, where you can find world maps and the airline routes. You can check yours and see what countries you’re going to fly across, and it’s fun to compare the map to what you actually see from above!
This is easier on those flights where you have a screen in front of you showing the real time location. While everybody else on the plane is watching movies or playing games, I usually choose this channel. Boring? Not at all! I found out interesting things doing so: did you know that there are volcanoes in Saudi Arabia? Neither did I. But then I flew over one!
3 – I write
I am actually writing this post while on a flight to London. It doesn’t matter if you can use your laptop or not, you can write on your notebook and then copy it.
Flying inspires me more than anything else and I enjoy writing during flights thanks to the excitement and expectations of the moment. So why not: you have time, why not using it to catch up with some writing?
4 – I plan and daydream about upcoming trips
Always thanks to the inflight magazine’s maps, I find myself looking at different parts of the world.
“Wow, look at Canada, it’s huge!”
“Woah so that’s where Tobago is!”
“Is that place above or below the Equator?”
“I didn’t think Singapore was so close to Australia!”
“When I go from Turkey to Egypt by land, I can go here and there, and… wait what’s that lake?”
“Syria. Oh, how sad. But I want to visit as soon as possible”.
“Let’s see if I can find this country”
“What was the capital of Belize again?”
And so on and so forth.
5 – I make some research
Since I am a flash packer and a last minute decision maker, I rarely have time to plan at all. I usually don’t stress too much and postpone this moment to the flight. This way, I will have all the time to go through a guidebook or a couple of interesting articles that I collected and printed in the days before departure.
Also, because I am flying to that place, I have the perfect motivation to do my research. You can do this too!
6 – I sleep
And you can sleep too. In order to do so, I wish you with all my heart not to be sitting close to noisy kids, or in the middle of teenagers coming back from their school trip.
Anyway I always carry a travel pillow with me and earplugs. They are my best travel mates! I’ve always been skeptical about travel pillows, until, well… I tried one. Since then, we’re inseparable.
Also, the window seat allows you to lay your head on the side of the plane: for me this makes all the difference.
The luckiest on board nap I had was on a Paris to Tokyo 12 hrs flight, when I slept 8 hours in a row. I couldn’t believe it! So then in the 4 remaining hours you have to consider take off, eating, landing and maybe a short movie and then the flight is over!
7 – …but not quite yet
Because if you look at the aisle for a second, just when you are thinking of getting some sleep, you’ll probably see the crew approaching with the drinks or food trolley. Oh well, postponing the nap for an extra half hour won’t hurt!
Chicken or beef?
8 – I enjoy the time passing
I came to the conclusion that I like long haul flights more than short ones. Why? Because they take you far, far away! So even if your flight is 8, 10 or 14 hours, just think about how far you’re going, how amazing is the fact that you’re moving at about 1000km/hour across the planet… and suddenly you’ll enjoy the idea of spending that amount of time on a plane! It’s always a matter of perspective.
9 – I do what everyone else does
Of course I watch movies sometimes, play games or read a book and listen to my iPod. But in general, my mind is so concentrated on where I am going and the idea of the upcoming experience that I can hardly watch the whole movie or focus on my book for too long.
What do YOU do on long haul flights? Let’s share our tips to make them look shorter!
Thank you Giulia for writing this amazing article. This is exactly how I feel when I am on a flight. Long-haul flights are even better because the cabin crew takes care of you so well. Flying is definitely one of the highlights in a trip. Another thing I enjoy doing (and I had the chance to experience it vividly when I was flying from Amsterdam to Osaka) is noticing how fast we change time zones when flying. Suddenly, it can be 5pm by my watch but pitch black out of the window. I always find it fascinating to look on the video screens for this kind of information; the current local time in the country of departure, the current local time in the time zone I am currently travelling through and the current local time in the country I am flying to. Weird, ha?