What the heck do I do on a 17-hour flight?

I fly fairly often.  Sometimes I get to fly in nice, luxurious seats the size of small subdivisions.  Those are the trip reports I typically write up for you.  Waaaaay more often, though, I fly in coach.


Coach I guess isn’t too terribly bad, provided the flight isn’t very long and you get upgraded out of coach into business or first class.  But what do you do when you’re stuck in coach on a long flight?

More specifically, what do you do when you’re stuck in coach FOR 17 HOURS?!?!?!?!!!!!?!?!?!  I was in that predicament a few weeks ago from DFW-HKG and am staring at a repeat of it this weekend.

I can only speak for me, so I will.  Here is my routine:

Step one: Get upgraded

Step two: If 1 didn’t happen, cancel the flight get hammered make the best of the situation

Step three: I watch the Where the Hell is Matt videos on my iPad, they get me focused on my destination and how excited I’ll be when the plane lands MORE THAN HALF A DAY LATER

(the videos I watch, in order: this one, this one, this one, and then this final one)

Step four: I watch an episode or two of Top Gear (I keep quite a few seasons on my iPad)

Step five: I sit there and get bored.  We are really desensitized to all of the noise around us these days, so it’s ok to sit there with your eyes closed and do nothing.  It’s quite freeing actually.

Step six: depending on how long the flight is, get up and do some yoga

Step seven: sleep.  My sleep aid of preference is Melatonin (I’m not a doctor, this isn’t medical advice)

Step eight: get really excited about landing and then look at the flight map and realize there are still like 5-6 hours left

Step nine: start over at step one.


What do you do on long flights?


  1. I’m typically sleep deprived, so I load up my tablet with as much dry reading material as I can. Livy’s History of Rome is a great example. I actually do want to know about it, but the writing style is tough to get through. This normally helps me fall asleep pretty easily. For the portion of the flight in which I’m not asleep, I have plenty of video material – think of all the seasons of TV shows that I never quite get around to watching – and I’ll binge that on the plane. If I have internet access when I go to HKG later in the month, I hope to get around to actually entering my workout logs for the last three months into the online database on Fitocracy.com.

    I do try to have a variety of things available, in case my mood changes. Some simple puzzle games, various genres of video and books. I’ve even been known to load up comic books.

    Lastly, if you’re intellectually curious, as I know Andy of Andy’s Travel Blog is, I highly suggest looking into Khan’s Academy. Get the app. Download a bunch of material, and learn something completely new.

    Safe travels, Andy!

  2. Yup, agree with those… plus a couple more:

    – Write in a journal about fun memories as a kid or favorite travels.
    – Read a lot.
    – Brainstorm about future blog topics.
    – Write a letter to someone I haven’t talked to in a long time
    – Listen to podcasts

  3. I listen to the same dry books on audio books with my big Bose headphones; volume just high enough to block out other sounds…. Took a very long time to make it through “rise and fall of the third reach”… Oh, kept falling asleep…

  4. Get upgraded or go home. Seriously. I try to load a ton of stuff on my phone and iPod. I like Dan Carlin’s history podcast’s. How about 15 hours on the history of WWI and he’s not done with that subject yet. I have the DFW-HKG AA flight coming up in F in June and I’m looking forward to that. I return in Business so it should be interesting to compare the two. Just happy not to be in coach.



  1. My Top Five Bookmarks From Around Prior2Boarding This Week - Jetsetter's Homestead - […] Andy’s Travel Blog always has entertaining posts like his musing on what to do on a 17 hour flight?…

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