How To Pass The Time On A Long-Haul Flight

18 September 2015

Unless you're at the pointy end of the plane, a long-haul flight is never really that exciting, no matter how many movies you watch or extra snacks you score.

From the common European escape with obligatory layover to the seat-squirming, bum-numbing 17.5-hour Emirates Dubai–Panama City flight (which will outstrip Qantas' longest flight title from Dallas-Fort Worth–Sydney by two hours), at least some form of boredom is on the horizon.

In celebration of our Earlybird airfares and before you can say "are we there yet?", here are some sanity savers for your next long-haul flight.

1. Learn a new language

Brush up on the local dialect.

"Hola, soy el chica de sus sueños. Alguien ha dicho que estaba buscando para mí."

("Hi, I'm the woman of your dreams. Someone said you were looking for me.")

2. Read a really, really long book

If turning a few pages of the likes of War and Peace doesn't keep you busy for awhile, it'll at least put you to sleep for a few hours.

 Economy dining at its finest (all images: Getty)

3. Eat all the foods

Compartmentalised treats! That little cup of orange juice that you have to peel open! Mini fruit salad! Perfect square of dessert! On-demand snacks! Anyone who says airplane food is rubbish is no friend of mine.

4. Couch (or economy seat) potato

Shake off the guilts (you've got nowhere else to be, right?) and enjoy the mindless pleasure of reality TV or a movie marathon of epic proportions. Qantas have even teamed up with HBO to bring you 120 hours of cable TV in the sky. The only question is, will you rewatch G.o.T or see what Hannah Horvath and the girls get up to on err, Girls?

 Virgin Atlantic Flight

5. Spa in the sky

All that pressured, recycled cabin air is no friend to your dermis. Use your time on board to refresh with a makeshift spa treatment to ensure you disembark looking and feeling human.

Face masks are great – especially the cloth ones. Not only do they amp up the hydration, they also look hysterical, with the potential to scare that kid in 20D who's been kicking the back of your seat for the last five hours.

6. Do some awkward looking (but beneficial) exercises

No doubt you've packed your DVT (deep vein thrombosis) socks, but make sure you get up out of your seat to get the blood flowing. Stroll the aisles and use the time waiting for the bathroom to stretch your limbs in an improvised exercise sesh. No spandex required.

 Kids, we know how you feel

7. Write a short story

Put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard/iPad/phone/other miscellaneous digital device and get started on that story you've always wanted to write. It all starts with a person on a plane... wondering whether to order the chicken or the beef...

8. Make up backstories for your fellow passengers

Enough said.

9. Play games

Try Eye Spy: Airplane Edition, Punch Buggy Drinks Cart or, my personal favourite, Kiss, Marry Avoid. Much LOLs.

10. Buy a lounge pass for the inevitable layover

Guaranteed, you'll have more than a few hours to twiddle your thumbs at an airport on a stopover. Don't waste your cash on an exorbitantly priced meal at the food court; buy a day pass at one of the airport lounges instead. You can shower, use the Wi-Fi to check emails Instagram and make your money back with all the free food and drinks.


Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest Earlybird deals.


Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.