Things To Do On A Long Flight

Updated 5 December 2019 | by Nakita Mason

We’ve all been there; you’ve got a long flight coming up with not only your temperamental grandfather but also the three kids that have all got gold medals in squabbling and of course, your husband, whose only contribution to this chaos will be to snore his way to Spain.

As such, the head person in operation ‘Beat the Boredom’ is you. You have a few options of course, you can bury your head in a book and leave the rest of them to fend for themselves and hope that at least a few of them make it out the other side, or you can start writing that book you’ve considered multiple times now, entitled “Why Flying With Your Family Will Ruin Your Life”, or you can just sit and cry and resign yourself to fate.

However, there is another plan, one that means you both beat the boredom and keep the peace.

You can make the flight enjoyable. I’m going to let that sink in a bit because I know it’s radical one, but honestly, with a little prep you and your darling family can have fun on a flight and we’ve listed all the easy ways it can be done!

To help, we’ve broken them down into ‘classics for all’, ‘games for the family’ and ‘while the kids are busy’, to keep yourself entertained and your children free of boredom on your next long flight.

1 The Classics…

These boredom-busters are the gold standard of long flight entertainment

Little boy n a flight watching a film


Ok, we’re starting with the obvious here but there’s perhaps nothing quite so good at entertaining you and yours than a book (yet another reason to try and get your tykes into reading early!) It staves off boredom like nothing else and hours slide by unnoticed as you immerse yourself in another world.


Podcasts are wonderful. You can have plenty of them pre-downloaded and ready to go, and there’s something for everyone, including the kids. Plus, it has the added benefit of drowning out your husband’s guttural snores which at one time of the day you saw as a cute quirk and now see as grounds for war.


Movies are a great way to spend a long haul flight, or binge watching a show you love and it’s undeniable that a little bit of screen time can work wonders on your fidgety children!

2 Games…

You might not have heard of some of these, but we guarantee it’s a great way to while away your time. Plus ANYTHING is better than Monopoly.

little girl on a plane playing a game

Categorically Speaking

This is a fabulous game for any age and all you need is pen and paper. Basically, you all have a sheet of paper and one person recites 5-10 random letters which you all write down the page in a column. Then, you all take a turn to think of a category. These categories can be as normal as ‘Films’ to as weird as ‘Types Of Jam’, but whatever they are they go across the page in a row. Add a few lines so you have a box for each answer and bam, the game is on! Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and then start to fill in the grid. Original answers receive 5 points, answers that were also given by another are worth 1 point and if you don’t give an answer at all it’s a big fat 0 I’m afraid. Trust me, not only can this game be wildly funny, but it’s also a great way to learn new things too!

The Quote Game

Ok, this is very much a home-brewed game but stick with me. The quote game relies on you having watched something together quite a bit, either a film or a TV series. The game is to ask each other for a quote from a particular character, and once you’ve said your quote you are scored by your onlookers out of 10 for the delivery, accuracy and obscurity of the quote.  


There are plenty of compact quiz games to carry around with you and they make for excellent fun when on a flight. You can either go for a classic pub quiz (urgh, there’s bound to be sport’s questions) or something more niche like Lord of The Rings or Types of Cheese (PS, I can’t be sure these examples exist, but they probably do?)


This one is such a classic and can have you all in hysterics for hours. Take a few coloured pens and paper and bam, you’re all set.

3 While The Kids Are Busy

So now your kids are busy trying to recite Home Alone quotes or else getting stuck into a podcast, leaving you some precious time to yourself.

woman writing a diary entry on a plane

Writing A Diary   

Or if the word diary seems too grand or intimidating, just call it writing your thoughts. There’s a real joy to writing a diary and it can be useful in numerous ways, from simply keeping a record of your memories to helping you wrestle with any worries or emotional upheavals. If you’ve never written a diary before, starting a travel diary on your flight can be a nice way to break into it, but a word of advice, a nice pen is a must and music is heavily advised.

Complete Your Life Admin

You know what I’m talking about here, all those pesky tasks that sit somewhere between ‘vital I complete’ and ‘I’d rather have a bath and finish the Pinot Grigio’. However, on a flight, you’re essentially in purgatory and all you can do is make the time pass, so why not put that time to use and get some of those annoying tasks out of the way? From replying to important emails, applying for your next job or researching the best gyms in your area, flights can be a great place to get all that life clutter swept up and sorted, leaving you feeling guilt-free when you actually land!

Clean Up Your Phone

Seriously, you'll be amazed at how many of those photos you don't need, want or even remember taking, so why not pass time on your flight and just delete them to give yourself some more space for the impeding holiday? You can also sort your apps into folders, delete the apps you never use (like The Shark Memes generator for example) and get rid of all those contacts you no longer need. Remember, clear phone, clear mind. Kind of. 


This is tough, especially with younger kids, but perhaps your snoring hubby can take over and give you some snooze time? Remember to take an eye mask and earbuds if necessary, just to help you nod off  and save up your energy for the main event, the holiday!

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Don't forget, before you can have a relaxed flight you'll need to have a stress-free check in. Take a look at our blogs about the items you can take in your hand luggage as well as great packing tips to keep your travels light. If you haven't even booked your flights yet, be sure to check your hand luggage allowance too!