In-Flight Entertainment: Killing Time On Long Distance and Overseas Flights
British Airways Jet Parked at Hong Kong Airport
On October 6, 2012, I made another trip from Thailand back to the United States to visit my brother and sisters. In the past, these transpacific flights have been very long and tiring. After I departed Bangkok at 6:00 A.M., I passed through 12 time zones and relived 12 hours before touching down at Green Bay, Wisconsin Airport at around 4:00 P.M. on the same day I left Thailand. The total travel time with layovers at two airports was about 22 hours. It included a six and one-half hour flight from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Tokyo Narita Airport. The longest leg of the flight was about 11 hours from Narita to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. The shortest and last portion of the trip was a one hour flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Green Bay Airport.
My flights were especially tiring because I chose to fly economy class. From past experiences, these flights can also be very boring unless one utilizes in-flight entertainment and thinks of other ways to kill time on overseas flights. In this article, I share with my readers suggestions for making overseas flights more entertaining and less boring.
Inside an Overseas Airline
Ways to Make Overseas Flights More Entertaining and Less Boring
1. Strike Up Conversations with Passengers
Unless you are totally shy or unsocial, 22 hours can be a long, boring time not having any meaningful conversation with another person. The problem I have found is that the persons who are sitting next to you either talk too much or don't like to talk. I have had occasions to run into people, usually fellow ex-patriots, who monopolize the conversation and don't give you a word to get in edgewise. At the other extreme, there are foreign nationals from Thailand or Japan who don't like to converse in English. Since I don't know Japanese and can't speak Thai very fluently, it's hard to have a really good talk with these people. Just the same, if you can find the correct conversation partner, it will make the flight time more enjoyable and pass more quickly.
2. Do Puzzles
Doing crossword puzzles or Soduku is an excellent way of killing some time during flights. I usually attempt the crossword in the in-flight magazine, and it keeps me occupied for one or two hours or until I get frustrated and give up trying to solve it. I have seen some passengers doing Soduku which I haven't attempted. In Soduku the objective is to fill a 9x9 grid with digits so that each column, row, and each of the nine 3x3 sub-grids that compose the grid contain all of the digits 1-9.
3. Make Use of Airlines In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) Systems
I especially like the IEP on the Delta A330-323 air buses which fly between Bangkok and Narita. Included in this system are personal monitor screens and controls for playing by- demand movies and news programs. You also have the option of activating an in-flight tracker where you can display various maps of the aircraft as it moves through its flight path. You can also display data relevant to flight altitude, speed, wind course and speed, temperature, and distances to and from destinations. In addition to this, you have access to an audio system where you can select channels with different types of music and news reports. In the past, I have found the IEF on Delta flights from Tokyo to the States not as good as those in Bangkok to Tokyo flights. This is because passengers don't have individual monitor screens with access to movies on demand and the in-flight tracker. On previous trips, I have usually watched two films on the flights from Bangkok to Tokyo and two to three films on flights to the States from Tokyo.
4. Enjoy Meals and Beverage Service
On flights from Bangkok to Tokyo, I always look forward to the breakfast which is served one hour after take-off and a lunch served one hour prior to landing. On flights from Japan to Minneapolis, three meals including a dinner after takeoff, breakfast, and lunch are served. For all meals, passengers have a choice between Japanese and Western food. Prior to meals, beer, wine, and mixed drinks are complimentary. In-flight dining and drinking is certainly a welcome break from other activities.
5. Use of Ipads, Smartphones, or Laptops
If you carry an iPad, smartphone, or laptop, you may turn it on and use it when the plane is not taking off or landing. Wi-fi is provided, but it is not free. With your own iPad or laptop, you can work on personal files, surf the net, look at pictures, play games or watch DVDs.
If you enjoy reading, this can be an enjoyable way of passing time. The airlines normally provide newspapers, and every passenger has a copy of the in-flight magazine. I plan on reading "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte and maybe another book by Hemingway.
If one enjoys writing, you will certainly have enough time on long flights to draft articles for Hubpages or any other website you choose.
8. Card Games
In the past, I have played sheepshead, hearts, and blackjack with my family members on long overseas flights. These card games really helped to pass the time, and of course, we weren't gambling.
Finally, if you have exhausted all of the above activities, sleeping is certainly a great way to make the time pass quickly. The problem is that I have a hard time sleeping on economy flights where the seats are smaller and there isn't much leg room.
Traveling many hours on international or overseas flights can be tiring and boring. These flights need not be boring, though, as long as you plan different activities to occupy your time.
Killing Time on Long Distance Flights
How do you kill time on long distance flights?
© 2012 Paul Richard Kuehn