When it comes to finding things to do on a plane, sometimes the options can feel a little limited. After all, you’re stuck in a small space for hours on end, with only a few different activities to choose from.

If I’m honest, there used to be only two things I would do on a long flight – sleep and watch movies. Don’t get me wrong, these are still some of my favourite things to do when I fly but recently I’ve tried to push myself outside of my comfort zone and try some different activities.

So if you’re looking for things to do on a flight to pass time and want to avoid sitting in your seat for hours on end without doing anything, give one or two of these a try. I guarantee they’ll make the flight go by quicker.

So grab your carry-on and get ready for takeoff!


Full disclosure! See those links below? If you happen to click on one of these and purchase something I recommend, I’ll get a small commission (wohoo). Don’t worry, this is at no extra cost to you (in fact, often I’ll have some discounts you can enjoy!). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying sales. You can read my full disclaimer here.

25 fun things to do on a flight to pass time

1. Sleep

As I mentioned, this is something I love to do on a flight (actually, it’s one of my all-time favourite pastimes!) Snuggle up in a comfortable hoodie or a blanket, put your head against the window and drift off.

Just don’t be that person who snores really loudly or rests their head on their neighbour. They tend to not love that!

Use this time to store up a couple of hours sleep as travel can take a lot out of you. Or you could always take some sleeping tablets and get 10 hours of blissful sleep before your flight lands (just kidding!).

Some of my must-have travel accessories that help me sleep are:

Read also: 13 Essentials For a Long Haul Flight: A Survival Guide

2. Watch movies

Things to do on a flight to pass time: Woman watching a movie on a plane
Photo by Leung Cho Pang

Flying is a great opportunity to snuggle up and watch some movies without any interruption. If it’s a really long flight, take the time to watch some movie series, like the Marvel movies, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings (yes I’m a geek).

If you’re not into the whole marathon thing, pick some movies you’ve never seen before. A lot of airlines have their entertainment systems equipped with great content. You may also be able to check on their website before your flight and choose the movies you want to watch.

If your airline doesn’t have onboard entertainment (be sure to check this before you go), download a couple of movies onto a tablet or a laptop and enjoy watching them during your flight.

I like to bring my own headphones as they’re noise-canceling and comfortable to wear for the entire flight.

3. Track the flight

Many airlines have an onboard flight channel where you can watch the flight path of your plane. This is a great way to keep track of where you are and how much time you have left until arrival.

It’s fascinating being able to see how high you are. where exactly you’re flying over at the time, the timezone. Some planes even have outside cameras! This doesn’t do much when you’re up in the air but is really cool to watch during take-off and landing.

If you’ve never flown before, this is a great way to get a real sense of flight and enjoy the views from up above.

4. Read

Things to do on a flight to pass time: Man reading a book on a plane
Photo by Maria Sbytova

Flying is the perfect time to catch up on some reading. Bring that book you haven’t had a chance to start yet or a magazine if you’re not wanting to delve into a serious novel.

I always bring a book with me when I travel. Whether it’s for reading by the pool or travelling by bus or train, or as emergency entertainment. You never know when there’s going to be a flight delay or the onboard entertainment isn’t working!

5. Listen to an audiobook

If you don’t love reading on a flight, why not listen to an audiobook instead? I love listening to audiobooks when I’m cooking or cleaning the house so why not use them on my flights too?

Audiobooks are also great if you find it difficult to drift off to sleep while flying. Crawl under your blanket and listen to something soothing while your body relaxes and falls asleep.

I’ve found that some airlines don’t have any audiobooks on their entertainment system or they’re only a few old business books that aren’t really interesting (well, at least not to me!). So download your own before your flight. Some of my recent favourites include:

  • Becoming Michelle Obama
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad
  • The Joy of Less
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

If you’ve never listened to audiobooks before, you can get two free audiobooks here!

Read also: How to Travel More With a Full Time Job: 13 Creative Ways

6. Go for a walk

Things to do on a flight to pass time: Woman walking through plane
Photo by Undrey by Getty Images

Who wants to be sat for a 10 hour flight in a cramped space?! Get up, walk around, stretch your legs. Heck, do some squats if you’re feeling energetic!

Every few hours, walk around for a few minutes to get the blood circulating and break up the journey.

7. Binge watch a series

Some airlines have series on their entertainment system. If your airline doesn’t, download the series you’re currently watching onto your tablet or laptop before the flight. This is one of my favourite things to do on a flight to pass time.

My go-to series to watch on a flight are:

  • Friends
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • How I Met Your Mother

8. Do puzzles

Things to do on a flight to pass time: Man doing a crossword
Photo by Dapa Images

Check out the book shops at the airport and pick up some puzzle books. Crosswords, sudoku or brain teaser will not only keep your mind occupied but make the flight seem like it’s over in no time.

I like to do these towards the end of a flight to wake myself up so I’m not groggy when I get off the plane. I like to be fully awake for exploring time!

9. Play cards

I bring cards with me on every trip I take, they’re great entertainment! Whether by yourself or with travel companions, cards are an easy way to have some fun on a flight.

They’re also great for evenings when you’re on holiday. The last time I went camping, we played cards every single evening and had some of the biggest laughs ever!

Flying solo? Solitaire is the card game for you. With kids, snap is always a fun game. And with other travel companions, maybe raise the stakes and play poker.

10. Catch up on your emails

Things to do on a flight to pass time: Woman using laptop on a plane
Photo by Simon Apilollatnf

With four email accounts, I need to keep on top of my inboxes as I hate to see them cluttered. I constantly feel like I’m clearing out my inboxes, filing and replying to emails, and a long-haul flight is a great time to go through my emails and get them in order.

Long flights are a great opportunity to be productive and catch up on your emails.

11. Plan your trip

While you fly, get out your maps and start planning the next part of your trip. It’s always great to use flight time well and plan where to go next when you get off the plane. Write a bucket list of all the places you want to see at your destination so you don’t miss out on anything.

If you prefer to have everything organised before your holiday begins, use the time to start planning your next trip instead. Check out some reviews online, flip through a few travel guides or read some blog posts to get some travel destination inspiration.

Read also: How to Decide Where to Travel to on Your Next Big Adventure

12. Chat with the flight attendants

Things to do on a flight to pass time: Chatting with flight attendant

Even the flight attendants get bored of their jobs working on a plane all day and night! So the next time you get up to go for your walk, stop to chat with them and learn some interesting things about their life.

Flight attendants don’t get much time to themselves when flying. The rest of the time they’re working, so they’ll appreciate you chatting and asking questions (if it’s not too busy of course).

13. Listen to music

I have some of my favourite playlists on my phone so I can listen to music on long flights. It’s my way of blocking out crying babies and chatty people around me if I just want to keep to myself.

Your airline may have playlists as part of their in-flight entertainment system, ranging from classics to musicals to basically every genre you can find. It’s a great opportunity to discover a new artist!

Of course if you prefer your own music, have some playlists downloaded and ready to go on your phone.

14. Play travel games

Things to do on a flight to pass time: Man playing travel games on a flight
Photo by Radist by Getty Images

When you’ve got travel companions and a really long journey ahead, playing games can be one of the most fun things to do on a flight to pass time.

There are a bunch of games that have been made travel-friendly you can pick up before your flight (either online or at the airport shops). Some of my favourites include:

If you really want to up your game playing activities, set up a scavenger hunt on the plane! This will likely only work if the flight isn’t too busy and I would always double check with the flight attendants if it’s ok first. But it’s a great way to use your imagination and kill time on a flight.

15. Get to know your neighbour

You’re stuck in a seat for hours on end, so why not get to know your fellow passenger? I love talking to people around me who are travelling solo and it’s one of the best ways to kill time on a long-haul flight.

Of course, learn to ‘read the room’. If your neighbour doesn’t look like they’re up for chats, don’t be that person who keeps nattering on. But if they’re up for it, go for it! I’ve met so many interesting people on flights, and sometimes when you’re travelling alone, it’s good to know someone at your destination just in case.

16. Journal

Girl journalling on a plane
Photo by Rawpixel Ltd from Getty Images

This is a new favourite of mine to pass time on a flight, as I’ve only recently started journaling.

I love writing and I write a lot during the day for work, so I tend to always have a journal and pens with me. But if you’re not like me, get yourself one before your flight (the airport shops should have something available) and get journalling!

Whether you write about your travels, your goals, what you’re grateful for or just general notes about your day, journalling can be one of the best things to do on a flight to pass time, especially if you’re a nervous flyer as it’s extremely therapeutic.

Read also: 50 Inspiring & Mindful Travel Journal Prompts for your Next Adventure

17. Learn a new language

Are you headed to a new country where you don’t speak the language? Pick up a phrasebook at the airport and use the time to get brushing up on the local language.

It takes a while to learn a new language, but there’s no better time than when you’re flying for hours on end! It’s always useful to know even just a few phrases in the local language.

18. Colour

Another great choice if you’re looking for something therapeutic to keep you relaxed during the flight. Colouring isn’t just for kids! In fact, it’s been shown that adults who colour regularly have increased creativity and wellbeing.

There are some great adult colouring books out there. Some of my favourites include:

If you don’t want to buy a full colouring book, you can print out colouring pages online before your flight. Or simply grab a pen or pencil and start doodling on bits of paper!

19. Enjoy a drink

Toasting champagne bottles on a plane
Photo by Manuel F O from Getty Images

Most long haul flights have complimentary drinks available (yes, even in economy!) so you can sit back and relax with a couple of drinks.

Be sure to keep drinking water in between drinks, as altitude can have funny effects on you and alcohol tends to dehydrade you quicker when flying.

20. Do some Duty-Free shopping

Most airlines have a duty-free magazine or incoroprate it as part of their online system so you can browse the products easily. Generally, duty-free shopping is cheaper than if you were to buy in the shops so it’s a great opportunity to save on things like perfumes, alcohol and makeup.

21. Do some work

Woman working on a laptop on a plane
Photo by Leung Cho Pan

Whether you’re a freelancer or simply need to get some work done on your flight, using the time to get productive can be one of the most beneficial things to do on a flight.

Just remember that you won’t be able to use your laptop for take-off or landing but you’ll still have plenty of time to get your work done during the long flight.

I often get my laptop out and do some writing when others around me are sleeping or watching movies and I usually get a lot done during this time.

22. Organise your travel photos

If you have a laptop or even just an iPad, organising your travel photos can be one of the best ways to pass time on a long flight.

If you’re anything like me and take hundreds of photographs wherever you go, organising them into albums can be extremely therapeutic and helpful for keeping them in order.

You could do it by country, what you did that day or the memories associated with each photo.

Each time I’m on my way home after a trip, I do this. Often, the flight home makes me a little sad as the trip has come to an end, so this is a great way to keep the memories going.

23. Snap some shots out the window

Sunrise outside plane window
Photo by Snapwire from Pexels

I have taken some of my best shots out the window of a plane – anything from the clouds to sunrises, snowy mountains and city views.

Next time you’re on a long haul flight, take some time every few hours to peek out the window and see what the view is. You might get an incredible shot from up there!

24. Meditate

This is fast becoming one of my go to things to do on a flight to pass time. Meditation can be done anywhere, anytime so it’s a great thing to do on the plane.

The time leading up to travel can be stressful – finishing up at work, planning your trip, getting through the airport. I have started meditating while on flights so that I’m feeling calm and rejuvenated before I get off the plane. It means I’m less likely to be stressed and can enjoy my trip to the fullest!

Download the Calm App for free here

25. Pamper yourself

Lastly, there’s no reason you can’t get comfortable and pamper yourself on a long haul flight! Get your shoes off and pop on your comfy slippers, get yourself a glass of wine and wear a hydrating face mask for 30 minutes.

Flights can leave your skin feeling really dry so a face mask and moisturising regime is always on my list of things to do towards the end of a long flight.


How to stay entertained on a long haul flight Pinterest Pin

How to pass the time at the airport

I’m not a fan of getting to the airport early. I used to be, but since I travel a lot, it becomes a little monotonous. That is, of course, unless you’re travelling from a really cool airport like Singapore Changi or Seoul Incheon!

So when I have to get to the airport really early and have hours to spare, I like to have a plan of what I’m going to do to keep occupied. Many of the above ideas can be done at the airport while you wait for your flight, such as working, listening to music or reading. But here are some other airport specific things you can do to pass the time before your flight:

Man pushing woman on airport trolley
Photo by Vasyl Dolmatov from Getty Images Pro

Get breakfast

Don’t ask me why, but one of my favourite things to do in the airport is get breakfast. Even though I don’t usually eat breakfast! I feel like it marks the beginning of my trip. Check out the airport restaurants in advance for the best places to have breakfast.

Relax in the lounge

Contrary to popular believe, the lounges aren’t just for people travelling first or business class. Many credit cards, such as Mastercard World, offer lounge access through Loungekey. You can download the Loungekey app and check which lounges are available before your flight. These are free of charge and you can chill out before your flight, grab some complimentary food and drinks or even have a nap in loungers. Some lounges even offer shower facilities if you want to freshen up between flights.


If you’re looking for some last-minute travel accessories, the airport shops usually have them all. From travel adaptors to extra luggage or travel toiletries, you’ll be able to pick up anything you’ve forgotten to pack in one of the airport shops. It’s also a good opportunity for duty-free shopping if you’ve got gifts you need to buy.

Get pampered

Many airports have massage kiosks where you can get a relaxing neck and shoulders massage before your flight. And some even have areas you can get a manicure or pedicure! Since you likely have 2 hours or more to spare before your flight, this is a great option, especially if you’ve had an early start to the morning.

Exchange your money

If you haven’t already got the currency for your destination, there are always money exchange counters in the airport where you can do this. It might not be the best exchange rate but it’s a good last resort option.

Read also: What To Expect When Flying Alone For The First Time

Do you have a long-haul flight coming up? What are your favourite things to do on a flight to pass time?


Similar Posts