Skip to Content
Toggle Navigation

How to keep yourself entertained on a plane

Have a long haul flight booked? You’ll be busy packing and getting excited for your trip, but it’s also important to prepare for the journey. This means things like arranging transport to the airport and extras like fast track security. But you may also want to think about how you’ll pass the time on the flight itself.

Long plane journeys can be a little boring unless you’re one of those lucky people who can sleep right through. There is likely to be in-flight entertainment available, but it’s also good to have some extra ways to entertain yourself. 

We run through a few handy tips in this guide so that you can have the best possible flight and arrive at your destination feeling energised. 

How to entertain yourself on a plane 

Taking some books and devices with you can help the time to pass more quickly on long flights and make your experience more enjoyable. If you forget to bring entertainment like this, bear in mind you can always stock up in the shops when you arrive at the airport. It can even be helpful to break up your journey with meals and in-flight shopping, and perhaps a drink from the bar service if you feel like it. 

And if you’re a nervous flyer, you can distract yourself from any worries and anxieties with some activities. This can help you stay calm when flying, especially if it’s your first time. You’ll feel more in control of the situation, with something of a loose itinerary to keep you occupied and entertained during the flight. 

So, let’s dive into some suggestions for things to do during long-haul flights.

Read a book

Popping a book in your hand luggage is one of the easiest and best ways to prepare for a long haul flight. You’re never bored when you have a book. It’s completely up to you which kind of book you pack, but something plot-driven and instantly engrossing is usually best for a flight.

You might prefer some lighter reading material, in which case a magazine or even crossword puzzle book is a good pick. 

Not a big reader? Perhaps reading makes you feel travel sick, or your eyesight isn’t quite up to long spells of reading. You might also be on a night flight. In situations like this, an audio book is the ideal solution - all you need is your phone and a pair of headphones. Just make sure you pre-download the audio book as you won’t be able to access the internet and your devices will be on flight mode. 

Watch a film

You can check in advance what kind of in-flight entertainment is on offer during your flight. There might be a new film you’re keen to watch, or a favourite you love to see time and time again. 

If you prefer to choose what you watch and have a tablet device, you can pre-download a film and watch it from the comfort of your seat. As they have a long running time, films are the perfect way to make long flights feel shorter. 

Write in your journal

A flight can be the ideal place to collect your thoughts, make plans and write about your experiences. A notebook and pen could be all you need to scribble down an idea for something, plan the itinerary for your trip or even write a travel bucket list for your next adventures.


With a decent eye mask and a set of ear plugs, you could simply snooze your way through a long flight. 

It can be tricky to get comfortable though, so you’ll need to think about what to pack in your hand luggage. You might want an inflatable neck pillow, cosy blanket or a pair of noise cancelling headphones - whatever works for you. 

You may not usually be able to sleep on planes, but it could be worth packing some of these things anyway. That way, you can nap comfortably if you start to feel sleepy. 

What to bring on a plane for entertainment 

So far, we’ve looked at lots of different ways to entertain yourself during a flight. Different things will work for different people, and we all have our own tastes. 

If it’s your first long haul flight though, you might want to go all in and pack many options for in-flight entertainment. After all, the last thing you want is to be bored. 

Here’s a full list of entertainment items to pack in your hand luggage:

  • Books, magazines and e-readers
  • Phone, tablet or laptop with pre-downloaded films, TV shows, audio books and music
  • Handheld gaming device
  • Travel-size games or a pack of cards
  • Crossword or puzzle book 
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Neck pillow and eye mask
  • Pen and paper