How To Stay Sane On A Long Flight

stay sane on long flight

I know I’ve been really bad about posting the past couple of weeks, but with my move abroad things were so chaotic I barely had time to eat, let alone blog. My days were filled with packing (you can read my tips here!), trying to sell things and sorting out all of the last-minute stuff, while simultaneously trying to fit in all of my favorite stuff from Melbourne before leaving.

Since I arrived back in the States I’ve just been trying to get back on a normal sleep schedule (35 hours of travel and a 15 hour time change will do that to you) and decompress a bit. But now that I’m feeling a bit more normal, I’m excited to continue connecting with all of my readers! While on my 14 hour flight from Australia, I thought of many blog post ideas, but I thought the most appropriate would be one about how to survive a long flight. Really long-haul flights can be difficult for a few reasons, but I find being cooped up in a metal tube for almost a whole day the hardest. From my experience on long-haul flights, I’ve come up with a few reasons on how to stay sane and not feel totally cooped up while flying.

Take a walk or do in-seat exercises. Ok, I know if you’re in a window or middle seat it can be awkward to ask the person next to you to move so you can get out, especially if they’re asleep, but getting out and taking a walk or going to the bathroom will make you feel so much better. A lot of people also don’t know that the flight attendants hang out in the galley at the back of the plane and tend to have lots of random snacks and beverages they’ll happily load onto you if you go back and ask. And sometimes you’ll even find chatty flight attendants who will happily stand in the back and chat to you for a while, which not only passes the time but also gives you the opportunity to learn a lot of really cool and funny stuff about aviation. If you don’t feel like getting up, in-seat exercises are also another option and something that usually most inflight magazines feature. Here are 7 specific exercises I like with illustrations from Virgin Atlantic.

Play games. This could be with your travel companion or if you’re alone (or just not wanting to socialize with people) inflight entertainment usually has a selection of games ranging from Battleship, to Solitaire to Yahtzee. I once spent almost a whole flight from Bangkok playing Yahtzee (embarrassing, yes, but it sure made the time fly and by the end I was really good at Yahtzee).

People watch. This one doesn’t sound all that exciting, but there are some really interesting people on planes and it’s hilarious to watch some people’s behavior. On this last flight I enjoyed an hour-long scenario in which an old man attempted to use his reading light and was just not doing very well. You can easily pass a lot of time just watching people (in a not creepy way, of course) on planes and who knows, maybe one of them will give you an idea on other things you can do on your flight!

Enjoy the inflight entertainment. Some airlines have great TV shows and movies available and it can be a great way to catch up on stuff you’ve been wanting to watch and I find it passes the time quicker than anything else.

Luckily Michael and I had a whole row to ourselves on our long flight, so I got to stretch out a bit and didn’t have to worry about climbing over a stranger, but these few tips helped me pass the time and honestly, the 14 hours wasn’t even that bad. What are some of your favorite ways to pass the time on flights?

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  • Becky @Disney in your Day

    I’ve never taken a flight that long before but I would love to go to Australia, so I’ll keep these tips in mind! We usually download a few episodes of something to my Kindle to watch. I also like to use the time to write blog posts, and sleep!

    • All great ways to spend the time! I love to read on flights as well, but sometimes I need something a bit different! There’s only so much TV I can watch, although tween me would be ashamed to hear that 😛

  • Jennyb

    Lucky you having a whole row to yourselves! This is a good list to post. I haven’t seen one with this same information before. Thank you.

  • The inflight entertainment is a huge saver for me. I have to watch something while flying.

    • Same! It makes passing the time SO much easier, that’s for sure.

  • I usually take the time on a long-haul flight to blog or edit videos, but whenever I have downtime, I’m all about the in-flight movies! I’ve watched so many films I wouldn’t have seen otherwise that way!


    • Me too, Tami! I hate paying to watch movies, so if I can get it for “free” (on an already expensive flight lol) then I’m all for that!

  • Long flights with super long layovers can be the worst! Definitely agree that people watching can be super entertaining sometimes!

    • It can! I was cracking up half of my flight watching some of the old men trying to figure out some of the technology. One of them spent about 20 minutes trying to change his inflight entertainment out of Chinese!

  • I’ve never thought about bringing a deck of cards on an airplane but I could have really used them when we flew to Europe a couple of years ago!

    • That’s so true! It’s much better that way because sometimes my arm gets so tired clicking on the screen while trying to play a game.

  • I laugh at your last comment as we say that all the time, its always not that bad, once its over 🙂 People watching is fascinating on a long haul flight and gives so much material for blog posts. I can loose a few hours playing solitaire on my phone (sad I know but you do what you’ve got to do when its long haul)

    • It is! I always say that, even when I complain the whole flight 😛 It’s just human nature! You do do what you’ve got to do, that’s right. I love the planes with the outlets so I can run my phone/iPad battery down playing games haha.

  • DT

    In flight entertainment is the only thing that keeps me sane. I usually can’t sleep (unlike some lucky people)… Walking around helps too!
    — DT | Here I Scribble

    • I totally feel you. I usually try to have a few glasses of wine in hopes it will help, but it doesn’t usually– more wishful thinking!

  • Great tips! I love when we get a whole row to ourselves. I tend to stretch out with my head on my husbands leg as a pillow hah

    • It’s the best! And I LOVE not needing to crawl over strangers or have to wake them up when I want to get up and walk around.

  • I’ve never been on a plane before! My husband and I want to travel, so I know this is part of it. Thanks for the tips!

    Amanda |

    • Thanks, Amanda! I hope you do travel somewhere exciting and that the plane ride is bearable!

  • Chrissa – Physical Kitchness

    Great tips!! Some of these even work well for toddlers too. I’m flying with my over Christmas and so nervous!