I was so impressed when I heard the news that Singapore Airlines will resume flying the world’s longest nonstop flight between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey beginning October 2018! But when I learned that the flight would take almost 19 hours, I didn’t know what to think. That’s a long time to be up in the air; it’s five hours shy of a whole day, after all!

The longest nonstop flight I’ve ever been on was about 10 hours. I can’t imagine what double that would be like. Surely I’d grow restless. So it got me thinking: If I were on an ultra long haul flight, how would I pass the time and entertain myself?

Apart from reading, listening to music, watching movies, playing games, sleeping, eating, and drinking, here are my ideas for 8 creative things to do on a long haul flight:

  • Do origami
  • Make lists
  • Recharge your crystals
  • Meditate
  • Write a poem on a barf bag with your less dominant hand
  • Take pictures of everything on the plane
  • Pamper yourself
  • Move your ankles*

Do origami

  • Practice the Japanese art of paper folding and pack some origami paper in your carry-on bag. Make cranes, frogs, or flowers. I like making fortune tellers and hearts.
  • origami paper at Daiso Japan
  • Make lists
  • Names for future kids or pets. Things you’re grateful for. Christmas card list. Future blog topics. All the food you’re eating. All the food you shouldn’t be eating. The list goes on…
  • Recharge crystals
  • I started learning about the healing qualities of crystals a few years ago. If you’ve got a window seat, open the tray and lay the crystals in front of you and let them absorb the sunlight or the moonlight to recharge and fill them with positive energy.
  • Meditate
  • On a bus trip I took from Washington, DC to Montréal, Québec, Canada, I remember one matronly woman who pulled out a bottle of fruity body spray and spritzed the air around her. Then, she declared to no one in particular, “I must pray the rosary now.” The point is, she managed to create a space to find her inner peace and calm. This practice could work on a long haul flight, too. I’d just suggest skipping the spritzing-the-air part. You never know people’s sensitivities!
  • Write a poem on the barf bag with your less dominant hand
  • Let’s face it: people either love or hate poetry. I’ve self-published a few books of poems so I’m obviously in the “I love it” camp. It irks me when some people scribble a few lines, hit the enter key at random times, and tack on a title longer than the poem, then call it poetry. Ah, if only it were that easy. It’s more complex than that. Writing haiku, with its three lines and 5-7-5 syllable format, is a good place to start. Compose a verse on the barf bag. As an extra challenge, write with your less dominant hand. It’ll make you choose your words more carefully. Then edit and re-write it. Repeat. You’re on a long haul flight – you’ve got time! If the poem is so bad it makes you want to vomit, well, you do have that bag.
  • Take pictures of everything on the plane
  • Of course if you get a window seat, you have the perfect spot to take countless pictures of clouds, the plane wing, and the view of the landscape below. If you don’t have a window seat, you need to get creative. You like the pattern on the carpet? Take a pic. Wow, that overhead bin is spacious. Put your bag in it, then take a pic. Like the fancy hand soap in the bathroom? Take a pic. Then check if Amazon can ship it to a locker near your home. What about signs in other languages? Take a pic and put it in Google Translate – do the translations match? I’d steer clear of taking pictures with random people in them, though. Would you want nameless, disheveled, and unattractive individuals using up your device’s precious storage space? Save your pixels for things you’ll want to remember.
  • Pamper yourself
  • In case you’re the random stranger who ends up in someone’s picture, make it a good one and beautify, people! Pack a small tabletop mirror (a handheld compact will work, too) and try out different hairstyles or makeup. Go ahead. You’re in a safe space. Apply a paper face mask. Cabin air dries out your skin, so it wouldn’t hurt to moisturize your face. And while you’re at it, moisturize your cuticles with oil, too. Make sure your products are unscented. You can do better than rosary bus lady.
  • Move your ankles*
  • If you aren’t already wearing compression socks to help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which is what happens when blood clots in your legs after sitting in the same position for a long time, keep the circulation up by doing this little exercise. I am not a doctor, but as your friend, I suggest you move your ankle as if you’re writing your name in cursive. Slowly. Include your middle name, too. If you don’t have a middle name, then make one up. Or borrow one from your list of names for future kids or pets. Then repeat this little exercise with the other ankle. Slowly. Repeat every hour.
  • Those are my ideas for 8 creative things to do on a long haul flight!

    Got any other ideas? Tell me in the comments below! Happy travels!

    For more information:

    • Airbus delivers A350-900ULR to Singapore Airlines (link)
    • Charging crystals (link)
    • The Longest Commercial Flight is 19 Hours Long (link)
    • *What is DVT? (link)

    *Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this information is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult a qualified health care provider to discuss your health.