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How to Prepare for a Boring Airplane Flight

Updated on March 2, 2013

Plane Trips Are For Making Memories...

What a FUN plane to fly on! I just wish the INSIDE had this same paint scheme! :)
What a FUN plane to fly on! I just wish the INSIDE had this same paint scheme! :) | Source
Easy Jet? I WISH! Sometimes those LONG flights are hard!
Easy Jet? I WISH! Sometimes those LONG flights are hard! | Source
Hawaii anyone? Ahhh, memories! I'd go back in a heart beat!
Hawaii anyone? Ahhh, memories! I'd go back in a heart beat! | Source
Air Jamaica ~ One place I've never been but would love to see one day!
Air Jamaica ~ One place I've never been but would love to see one day! | Source

When You Have Hours And Hours Ahead Of You And Nothing To Do....

You know how boring those long flights can be. Fortunately, I've only been on one really long airplane flight, and that was with two screaming babies, so we've been lucky. Well, maybe not so lucky with that screaming babies part of the experience.

When our boys were only a year old, though, we had to fly from Hawaii to Chicago. Then we were scheduled to change planes in Chicago and fly on to Maryland. I think it was something like 14 to 16 hours of actual flying, with a couple hours of sitting on the ground in Chicago.

Needless to say, we arrived in Maryland more tired than we had ever been in our LIFE! To top that off, we were actually moving from Hawaii to North Carolina, but Maryland was a stop we were making for several weeks before we finally made it to our new home in North Carolina. Since our boys were only babies, it seemed to take forever for them to adjust to the time on the east coast of the US after living in Hawaii for their first year!

Try sitting up at 3 a.m. with two babies who think it's only 7 p.m. sometime. It's FUN (NOT!) By about 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. they wanted to go to sleep for the "night"... only it was day time. All I can say is I'm thankful my husband and I were still young and could accommodate their schedules until they got used to the new time! These days, we are asleep by 9:30 at night and we've grown to kind of like it that way!

I did make a lot of trips out here to Las Vegas, though, before actually moving out here and that meant a lot of 4 hour or longer plane trips. I learned a few things that can help when you're on a long flight and thought I'd share.

First of all, get up and walk if you can do that. Not when the seat belt light is on, but at times when it's OK to get up from your seat. You have to keep the blood flowing in your legs to avoid something called DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis. This is when a blood clot forms in your lower extremities, usually the legs. The blood clot can then break away and go to your lungs, in the form of a pulmonary embolism, which can potentially be fatal.

This can happen as a result of sitting in a stationary position for too many hours. So, be one of those people who gets up and walks just to be safe. That wouldn't be a problem for me, since I have to make my way back to that cute little box at the back of the plane called the on board toilet. Or the place where new records are set by those wishing to be in the mile high club (don't ask if you don't know what that is).

Since I've gotten older, I can only go a few hours max without peeing, so it keeps me up and walking around on the plane. It's interesting to do that anyway, just to watch the people trying not to make eye contact, those who are just plane scary looking (yep, I spelled plane wrong intentionally). Then there are those young Mom's who I can totally identify with who are trying to keep their screaming little ones occupied and happy on the flight... I have a special place in my heart for them, I was there once, too... times two!

Some More Tips For Weathering A Long Plane Ride...

It is important to get up and walk when you're on a long flight. But sometimes you just need something to do while sitting in your seat. Looking out the window and listening to that lady across the aisle sniffling just isn't entertaining enough for you. You need something to do NOW, something entertaining that will keep you busy for a few hours or more.

This is when it pays to plan ahead for the boredom. Bring along a small portable DVD player and several movies if you can. Or if you have one of those new tablet devices, that's even better. Have a selection of several movies with you to choose from. I chose three of my favorite movies to bring along, even though on a four hour flight I only had time to watch one.

I would watch a different movie on the return trip a few days later. Bring along ear buds so you can listen to your movie without your neighbors having to hear it. They will thank you, especially if they are trying to read or doing something else that requires quiet and concentration.

I always try to keep the movies PG rated, nothing gory or scary in case kids are sitting near me. My favorite ones to watch are "Grumpy Old Men," "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," "Sweet Home Alabama," or "Fried Green Tomatoes." But each person has their own personal favorites in movie choices. This is not a good time to bring along "Saw 3" or gory Halloween type movies. You don't want to freak out any nearby kiddo's.

Another great idea is to bring along magazines or newspapers. Once you are through reading them, you can leave them in the seat pocket for another person to enjoy after you've left. That way, your carry on bag is a bit lighter when you get off the plane, which is a bonus because it leaves room for those must-have souvenirs from your trip!

If you enjoy doing puzzles, some great books to bring along are tiny little ones you can buy at the cash register in most grocery and department stores. You know the ones, they are small sized (pocket sized) puzzle books and they feature puzzles like word-search puzzles and crossword puzzles, or Sudoku if you are into that. I've never gotten into that, word-search is more my speed. The smaller the better since you are trying to bring things that take up as little room in your carry-on bag as possible.

Be sure to drink plenty of water on a long trip, not alcohol which can dehydrate you even more, and not too much of the carbonated stuff. Drinking carbonated drinks can make you feel lousy if you have too many of them on a flight. Plain water is the way to go to get the most beneficial hydration.

Your skin will dry out along with your hair and everything else so it also helps to have some lotion on a long trip. Fortunately, you can find tiny bottles of lotion that will pass the strict security screening at airports today. Put on a bit of lotion about half way into the long flight, your skin will thank you. And most lotions smell pleasant, so other passengers shouldn't be too bothered by you using them.

If it's OK to bring snacks along, especially on a long flight, you might want to consider doing that. Things that travel well like crackers, raisins, granola bars and carrot sticks are great. Just don't bring along a pouch of tuna-fish and decide to put Limburger cheese on it... you want to be sensitive and thoughtful to those around you and make your snacks neighborly and breathe-friendly... so nothing STINKY!

If you have a Kindle reading device, those are ideal for long plane flights. Even if you don't have one, bring along one or two good paperback books that you know you will enjoy reading, that can help to pass the time as well. Make sure the books you choose are those that really will capture and hold your attention.

There's nothing worse than re-reading the first page of a book over and over. This is also when wearing noise-cancelling earphones might come in handy, or even small ear bud type ear plugs that can help to keep the cabin noise from distracting you while you're concentrating on trying to read.

For hobby enthusiasts, if you have a craft you enjoy that can easily be done on a plane, bring it! This is the perfect time to work on that needlework baby wall hanging or that crocheted project you've been wanting to finish. Just don't bring along any sharp scissors. One suggestion I found recently is that if you need to cut thread while you're doing needlework, bring a dental floss cutter with you. It will cut your thread perfectly, and you won't be stopped by security for being a threat because of that big honkin' pair of Fiskars in your carry on bag.

And finally, if you're a writer and can bring your laptop along, bring it! Now is the perfect time to work on that novel you've been meaning to put some time into. Or write some hubs for Hub Pages! Or write about whatever inspires you like that strange passenger in 4F... you know, the one wearing the yellow chiffon pastel polyester leisure suit with the pretty obvious "rug" on top of his head. Make up a good story, I know you can do it!

Most of all, enjoy the flight. I know it's long, but once you get to your destination the memories of that long flight fade away. Taking their place are all those wonderful new memories you are going to make while you're on your trip! Have a safe trip and a good flight and enjoy!


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    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Great idea, Sarah! :) So glad you liked this. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I appreciate it! :)

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      Great post. I used to do 15+ hr flights so I usually slept when I could, and nagged my husband for some worthy conversation ahha. If I ever had to do those long flights again, I'd consider getting a kindle or something.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks, Eddy! I always appreciate you stopping by! :) Thanks so much!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful hub and thank you so much for sharing .

      Have a wonderful day.


    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      You're welcome Dianna! So good to see you again! :) Glad you found this helpful. Long flights really can be boring, a lot of people dread those long flights, but they can be much more pleasant if you have things to do to pass the time. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I caught this earlier, but wanted to stop in and let you know how much I appreciated the helpful tips. Those trips can be boring, and long. Great ideas and thanks for sharing.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks, Ruby! It wasn't easy, but we made it! :) Now it's just a distant memory! :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great story Kathy. I can't imagine flying with two babies. God bless you. HA..Cheers

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thank you so much hawaiianodysseus, that is such a wonderful comment, I appreciate your kind words so much! : )

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      As usual, Kathy, you go the extra mile in generous and friendly responding to your fellow Hubbers' comments. You are "a cut above" and a definite asset to our HP community.

      Aloha and mahalo! Happy November! (Can you believe it? This year is streaking by!)

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Hi Hawaiianodysseus! Airlines do tell passengers to turn off all devices, but then later once you're at "cruising altitude" they will usually allow you to turn them back on. I know that Delta has internet, for $12 last time I checked, and it was $34.95 if you buy it monthly (it pays if you travel a lot). I think you have to check with each airline, some have internet, some don't. If they don't have internet, you can still use a laptop or tablet for writing with a word processing program. And you can use it in the "offline" mode, too, if you've downloaded things you can see offline. Hope that helps! :)

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, always good to see you! :)

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks, NornsMercy! I hope you didn't bring tuna fish and Limburger cheese on that flight! ;) Thanks for your great comment and for the votes, I appreciate that! :)

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks, Beckie! :) Weather really can be worrisome sometimes and it definitely will keep you busy while it's happening! My husband used to tell stories of being in the cockpit when lightning was all around them... I would have been scared! Thanks for your comment! :)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Thank you for sharing this information, Kathy. I'm not that experienced with flying, so I have a question. When I'm in a flight, I'm told to shut off all electronic devices. At some point, then, are passengers permitted to use their laptops? Is this service free, or do the airlines charge for internet connection?

      I appreciate your reader-friendly Hubs, KathyH! Always a pleasure to drop in and see what you're up to!


    • NornsMercy profile image

      Chace 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I love your hubs because they're useful AND funny :) voted up! Will definitely use these tips during my next flight... I've definitely been doing it wrong lol!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Great trips Kathy. I can so identify with what can sometimes feel like torture when you have nothing to occupy your mind. Although one particular trip, the weather kept our minds and nerves well occupied.