21 Productive Things to Do on a Plane That Don’t Require WiFi

young woman goes at airport at window with suitcase waiting for plane

Adobe Stock / JenkoAtaman

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Leah Thomas866

We've all been stuck on a three or four-hour flight with absolutely nothing to do. Even when you do bring something, chances are, you'll get bored with one activity and wish you had another. We get it! Which is why we've prepared a list of 21 things you can do on a flight that don't require WiFi, because that stuff is expensive. 

Once you get on:

Find something to do other than watch the other passengers try to shove their suitcases in the overhead bins.

1. Get yourself situated and comfortable.

If you’re planning on relaxing a little, set your pillow up just right. Get your blanket out, close the window cover if that’s more your vibe. Do whatever it is you need to do to feel comfortable before the plane starts moving. 

2. Get out anything you might need from your bag.

Instead of having to get up during the flight and move things around from your carry-on, make sure you have everything you might need right in your seat. Water bottle? 

3. Charge your phone or laptop.

There are so many things you can do on your electronics that you don’t need WiFi for! Trust us — we’ll get to those. Just make sure your phone, laptop, tablet, etc. are ready to go.

4. Go to the bathroom.

No one wants to be forced to sit in their seat while the plane takes off and all you can think about is the bathroom. Also, you never know when the pilot will allow passengers to get out of their seats. Turbulence could really mess with your planned bathroom break. So get in there before it’s too late. 

5. Read the emergency landing instructions.

With all the flight fiascos happening lately, you can never be too prepared. Go over your emergency landing pamphlet and make sure you know what to do in case anything happens. 

To keep you busy:

If you don’t have any work you should be catching up on, you might want to just keep yourself busy during your time in the air. 

6. Read that book you’ve been eyeing.

Bring one from home or pick one up at the airport store. Sometimes it’s hard to give yourself that extra time during the day to sit down and read, but flights force you to do so! Take advantage of your hours in the air.

7. Bring a newspaper to catch up on current events.

It can be difficult to stay up-do-date with everything going on in the world. Newspapers are relatively cheap and easy to bring on your flight. 

8. Talk to your neighbor.

Make a new friend! You never know who you might meet on your flight, or what you may have in common. Spend your plane time socializing with the person next to you.

9. Listen to music.

Download a playlist or two to your phone before you board. Listening to music can be therapeutic, especially on long plane rides. Pop those headphones in and click shuffle on your favorite streaming app. 

10. Play a game.

Whether you enjoy your daily crossword, sudoku or word search, bring one with you on the plane. And if you bring a magazine or newspaper that has both featured inside, you can kill two birds with one stone!

To keep you productive:

If you want to spend your time doing something worthwhile, we've got you covered:

11. Use your Notes app to do work.

Before you board, copy and paste anything you might need from online (any emails, notes, etc.) in order to do work. You don’t need WiFi to use the Notes app, which you can use to go over any calendar invitations, details from the last meeting and more. 

12. Draft any future work ideas you might be thinking about.

If you’ve got that big work meeting next week, spend your time in-flight drafting ideas, writing down notes for your presentation. Maybe spend your flight writing down your argument for your next promotion. Planes are a great place to get creative. 

13. Organize your phone.

We all let our phones get way too filled with photos, notes, texts and more. I’m sure you’ve gotten that dreaded storage notice before — avoid running out by using this time to delete any unnecessary pictures, videos, screenshots, etc. from your device. Decide which apps you still need and which ones you rarely ever use. 

14. Organize your purse or travel bag.

Since it’s right in front of you, gather any trash you no longer need, any boarding passes that are unusable, gum wrappers, etc. Go through old cards inside your wallet, too, or e-fold any bills that are lying around. 

15. Draft emails you need to send.

Copy and paste any emails you keep forgetting to respond to. Draft your responses in your Notes or anywhere else on your phone. And you can hit send as soon as plane lands!

For your overall health:

While you probably can't get a good workout in, there are a few other options.

16. Stand up.

Sitting down for so long can be physically draining. Take at least one bathroom break during your flight so you can stand up, stretch out and walk a little. But don’t take too many — you don’t want to annoy your seatmate too much.

17. Meditate.

Download a meditation playlist before you board so you can get your zen on during this flight. Cover your window to remove unnecessary light. You can even put on a sleeping mask to get more in the mood. Try to get in a comfortable position and enjoy your meditation time.

18. Finalize plans for your trip.

Any last-minute details that need to be worked out? Work through them on your flight. Figure out timelines for your vacation. Write down any places you’d like to see or any things you’d like to do while you’re away.

19. Practice goal-setting.

Plane rides can be a great time to reflect. Take time to think about the goals you’ve accomplished in the last year, the last five years, 10 years, etc. And set goals for your near and distant future. Write down the things and people you’re thankful for.

20. Take a nap.

Our personal favorite. Planes are relatively quiet (you can bring earplugs if you need it), which means they’re a great place to catch up on some sleep. Bring a neck pillow, stretch out those legs and relax. 

21. Have a meal.

Take advantage of your airline's meal options, and get yourself a bite to eat. Whether it be a bag of pretzels and some pop, or the choice between a sweet or savory box for additional charge, make sure you're fueled and ready for the adventure that awaits you upon arrival.

Plane ride must-haves, before you go!

  • Gum: you don’t want your ears to pop.
  • Water: bring a reusable bottle and fill it up at the airport drinking fountain.
  • Headphones: for the music junkie.
  • A snack: in case you fall asleep before they come around to offer in-flight services.
  • A pillow: if you plan on taking a nap.
  • Any activities you may want to do: any magazines, newspapers, journals, crossword puzzles, etc. to keep you busy!
Flights don't have to be a negative part of your life. You can easily enjoy your airport experience with these fun and productive ideas. 

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