Here are some carefully-curated tips and advice for staying entertained and keeping boredom at bay aboard a flight to ensure an enjoyable flight experience.
Remain vigilant when using tray table
The tray table on the seatback in front of you is quite a handy tool: you can rest your head on it, use it as a mobile office desk, or dine on it. However, remember that though you control its position (up and locked, down and extended), your fellow traveler ahead of you controls the seat which it is affixed to. Be careful when dining on it, especially with beverages, because if that woman decides to recline or sit up abruptly, that drink of yours could go all over the place; an hours-long flight with sticky-wet pants is not comfortable. Even more dangerous would be to simultaneously use the tray table as a desk with your laptop or iPad on it and a drink positioned nearby – this is just begging for fried electronics.
Actually, remain vigilant when near liquids of any sort
In the same vein as the above advice, it may be safer and much more prudent to stow your electronics whenever food and drink is present at all. Maybe you have that middle seat next to you empty, and you are using its tray table as a cupholder while yours is a desk, but the space between the two tray tables are never far enough for them to be completely irrelevant to each other; liquids still spill, whether by that neighbor in front of you or perhaps through some unannounced turbulence. Also, and especially if you are in an aisle seat, close your laptop lid or stow your electronics during food and beverage service; the flight attendants may have their flight legs, but they’re not perfect.
Sick of visual entertainment?
The things we carry aboard flights tend to lean towards the visual, such as tablets, laptops, books, etc. Sure, we might have a portable audio player, but these things can get dull and overworked at times, and you may find yourself restless and desperate for some other form of a boredom-reducing activity. Why not try chatting up your seatmates? Try to be conscious of their behavior and determine whether they might want to talk, because I know how awful it can be to chat with someone when you’re too tired/not interested/trying to work/watching a movie. But your fellow passengers are great troves of information; if you’re traveling abroad, there’s a good chance that they are locals or otherwise intimately familiar with your destination. Perhaps they can give you some helpful advice, some insight as to the culture, or maybe they’ll turn into a contact there.
If you are going to put your headphones on and watch a movie or listen to music, and are using a blanket or your jacket to get stay warm, remember to fasten your seatbelt over the blanket or other covering lest the flight attendants interrupt your entertainment unnecessarily. When the seatbelt lights are lit, the flight attendants are required to make sure that each passenger has theirs on. If they are unsure, they will tap you on the shoulder to check, causing you to have to pause your movie to show them that your belt is indeed on.
Catch a show
Airlines these days often try to one-up each other by offering the latest movies and shows on their in-flight entertainment devices – those screens on the seatback in front of you on longer flights. Get your money’s worth and simultaneously pass the time by catching a new release that you’d have to still pay for back home.
Discover new artists
Along with a map, movies, and games, the in-flight entertainment devices on the seatbacks often offer music options. Sure, you could stick to your standard playlist that’s stored on your personal music device or tablet, but why not use the opportunity to see if there’s something new? You might find your new favorite band. Also, if flying to a foreign destination, they might have some music available from your destination – a good way to begin getting in touch with the culture before you even arrive.
Pick up the in-flight magazine
Besides the safety manual and vomit bag, within the seatback pocket is usually a monthly airline magazine. Not only does this magazine offer one more entertainment option, albeit slight, but it may have some stories and travel tips relevant to your travel destination, especially if the airline you’re flying is based in that city or country.