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Beating Boredom on a long haul flight

Some people love flying, they book a window seat at the earliest opportunity just so they can spend the whole flight with their nose against the glass staring down at the oceans of cloud below.

When the white clouds ripple and dark mountains appear for the umpteenth time even the most ardent window watcher becomes bored

You begin to press the digital screen, 6 times for each option is a great workout for your social media finger. Unfortunately the WiFi doesn’t work so you can’t use the additional reps to your advantage and have an intellectual discussion on Facebook.

But, most likely just a Facebook post from 35000 ft to make sure everyone knows you are flying somewhere exotic while they’re working.

So what can you do to pass the time at this point?

For some people boredom strikes fast and a lively mind is difficult to tame. The best you can hope for is that counting sheep helps you catch some zzz’s and you wake up as the seatbelt sign lights up for landing.

Here are some fun ways to avoid mid-flight boredom:


– Talk to your neighbour. Humans are social creatures and even though digital technologies are exciting it’s nice to get back to really communicating and connecting with someone in a meaningful way, usually there is some humour involved and you’ll spend the flight laughing.

On the other hand, when you hear your neighbour coming half way down the plane and you know they’re going to end up next to you and after talking constantly to an eccentric talkaholic for a whole  8 hour flight the excitement might have worn off

– if you are flying long-haul, travelling with the kids, walk to the back of the aircraft where the flight attendants hang out. Often there will be snacks and drinks available for you to help yourself. Work off the extra calories with a stroll along the aisle but be sure to avoid sleepers feet.

– look around and amuse yourself with the strange positions people fall asleep in, snoring into a stranger’s ear, blankets over the head, feet on the window.

– meditation is the cool thing to do so why not give it a try while you have no choice but to sit still for a long time anyway.

Keep it simple, focus on your breath, either the feeling of air at the top of your nose or the sensation of your belly rising and falling. Relax, don’t be serious, if you lose focus don’t worry, return to the breath again.

Download a guided meditation on your phone if you struggle.

– keep it simple, read a book. Reading focuses your mind and let’s your imagination create an alternative exciting existence. If you can manage to get into this reading zone hours will pass quickly, or you’ll drift off. Either way you win, boredom loses.

– listening to a recording of the sound of thunder and rain is a great way to relax and keep the mind focused. The sound of rainfall is comforting and it’ll absorb your attention.

There are lots available online and the rumble of thunder definitely beats the droning sound of the aircraft engine. Just be aware that you’ll have to check out the window a few times to be sure it isn’t actually raining, the sounds are real and your mind will believe it’s really happening. If it is, let’s hope you’ve already landed or it’s only a dream 😉


The emotional turbulence of flying


A long haul flight can be challenging mentally, both through the sense of boredom passengers often feel and any emotional difficulties they might be experiencing in their life. Being confined to a small area for a long time can be challenging for people with mental health issues and also people experiencing strong emotions due to their current difficult life situations, losses or fears.

If the feeling of boredom you are experiencing during a flight becomes emotionally painful check out the useful advice on the website BetterHelp. They’ve written some great articles related to helping people overcome flight and travel related fears and they offer support for people with mental health problems.

flight turbulence

Baggage claim boredom

At last you’ve landed but the standing and staring at the baggage belt begins. Eventually the whirring and clicking begins and bags travel round and round until, black red, funny pink bow, until eventually you plot your attack through the crowds and grab your prize possessions.

baggage claim

Don’t rush to the baggage claim, stretch your legs, do a few exercises or head to the bathroom to refresh. Modern life often overstimulates the mind and it is difficult to stand still and focus for long periods of time. Take a breather, perhaps meditate and let your mind focus on something concrete and simple.

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