How do you pass time on a 14 hour flight ?

So I am leaving for India in a couple of weeks to visit family and friends. Its always a fun trip and the time I am least connected with programming and all things on the web, which is a good thing since almost all the other times I am waaaay too into it. However the flight to and from is long, about 14 hours or so (and thanks to the Boeing 777s, direct without stops to refuel) and as you can imagine, really boring. So this year I want to ask the blogosphere: how the heck do I pass the time? Usually I code a bit till my battery runs out (3 hours) and then I unsuccessfully try to read a book or something. This year I am thinking I should maybe buy a PSP or something.

Anyone have any good ideas?

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on a variety of topics including Machine Learning, Affective Computing, and Blockchain applications. Arpit has also worked extensively on Android and iOS applications, Virtual Reality apps as well as with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and Ruby on Rails. He also spent a couple of years in the User Experience team as a Creative Technologist.

10 thoughts on “How do you pass time on a 14 hour flight ?”

  1. I bought an extra battery. That gets me to six hours. After that I listen to ye olde iPod. I found that isn’t particularly entertaining for the remaining … hours … even audiobooks … so I’ve been thinking that an iTouch with a few movies on it would prove handy – Christmas is near (smile).

    I prefer Nintendo games, so I can’t say how well the PSP does on movies. I sometimes carry a Game Boy Advance with the standard fare of Mario games, Metroid, Castlevania, etc. (I like side-scrollers). I haven’t looked at the DS Lite yet as my Advance does just fine.

    One piece of gear I absolutely wouldn’t be without on a long flight is my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 (over the ear). Audio, movies, games … It’d be painful after that long with anything else. Even the simple silence it can afford should I choose to fall asleep is priceless.

    Oh, and that’s the catch to all this of course … price. If you’re just going to be doing this for a one-off trip, then I’d suggest just pushing through and going on the cheap. If you’re going to be taking these trips often, then it’s worth the investment.


  2. On the 13 hour flight from Detroit to Japan I spend a lot of the time sleeping or attempting to sleep. I change my watch before I leave and try to live on Japan time for the duration of the flight. But if you’re not one of those folks who can sleep on a plane, I guess you’re out of luck. Other than that, I bring portable video games like Kevin here. And if you can’t program, at least read some books about programming πŸ™‚


  3. @Kevin, considering I take this trip at least once a year, investing a bit in it isnt a bad idea ;). Plus it’ll justify buying some new toys

    @Mat, yeah man I try to read books on programming on flights but after the first chapter, I really have to see the code in action to get into it.


  4. Why not try doing nothing. Nothing at all.

    Consider the fact you are always doing something year round. 14 hours x 2 sounds pretty nice down time to do nothing else but nothing.

    Unless you commute to work via carpool or transit, where else are you gonna find time to play with toys like Nintendo DS, PSP, DVD, etc. Do you think you’ll finish the book you start to read in 14 hours?

    The point is it’s time to stop on focusing getting things done and getting time well spent. Time to focus on nothing ness.


  5. AM:

    Not sure what airline you’re flying to India. You should check your airline/aircraft on (assuming you’re flying in coach, not biz or FC). As you can see, certain international flights (not most) have power ports at each seat in coach. You might pick your airline just because.

    If so, then pick up one of these, and you’ll be watching DVD’s, blogging and programming 28 hours roundtrip without all the extra batteries!


  6. Wow, thanks for that link Sam, that would be perfect ;).

    @Mark, I am really not very good at not doing anything at all and thats why dread those long flights. Some programming makes the time pass just a little faster ;).


  7. I am little late for this suggestion but you can always use later πŸ™‚ Get one of those travel charger. It cost around $99 and its pretty cool, it has multiple detachable jacks so can be used with multiple bands of laptops and it can be plugged into normal plug point or cigarette lighter jack (car or plane). Almost all the plane has this socket below the seat. You can tell how I travel πŸ˜‰ ….Now you will have 14 hrs to code and post more cool stuff on your blog πŸ™‚ ……. Have a safe flight back.


  8. @Pranav,

    Thanks :). That was exactly what I ended up doing. Although I didn’t code at all, and ended up catching up on Full Metal Alchemist episodes that I had missed ;).


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