Kill time on 17 hour flight

Things to Do on One of the World’s Longest Flights

How to Kill Time on a 17 Hour Flight

Mr. X (my privacy-conscious partner and travel companion) and I flew from Los Angeles to Singapore on a flight that topped 17 hours. It ranks as one of the top 5 longest flights in the world.
No matter how zen or self-sustaining you are, your mental capabilities are no match for 17 hours in a cramped jet. Even the thrill of a month-long adventure in Asia couldn’t keep us dreaming and in good spirits.

It basically feels like your life will never be the same and you are doomed to an eternal existence on the same LAX-SIN flight. *Shudders.* So here are some of the feasible ways we tried to stay sane on a flight that long.


We’ll just get the easiest one over with first. If you are a contortionist and/or are a person who can easily fall and stay asleep on planes my hat is off to you. Stop reading right now and send me an email to teach me your Jedi ways. Sleep the whole time if you can. But even if you pull a full 8 hours of shut-eye, don’t forget you still have just under 10 remaining.

So if you can’t sleep, or you can only get a few hours, keep on reading.

Downloadable video content

Another give in for some, but not for all. I don’t just mean download the newest season of House of Cards on Netflix. (I do also mean that, do that first). But there’s a whole world of content out there just waiting to be consumed on your ridiculously long flight.

    • Netflix – you can download tons of stuff to your phone or tablet
    • Amazon prime series – if you’re a prime member you can download tons of content right from prime to your tablet. If you aren’t a Prime member but want to give it a try, click Join Prime Video for a free trial.
    • Hulu/HBO/other tv stuff – if you pay for a membership on any other channel you can download their content for free

    Downloadable Audio and books

    Planes are a great place for reading! Especially if you have some good noise-canceling headphones. And if your books are on your phone or tablet you don’t have to keep your light on and annoy your neighbors. Here are our favorite apps for books.

    • Overdrive – This app uses your library membership to allow you to check out ebook and audiobooks over your phone. It’s the best, because it is free to download, as is all the content!
    • Kindle – This is a great reader, especially if you are a Prime member and have signed up for Amazon First Reads. Free books every month! Use this link for a Kindle Unlimited Membership Plan.
    • Audible – I personally am stubborn and cheap. So I like to wait until I can get my audiobooks from the library instead of paying for another subscription. But, if you have Audible, that’s awesome. Download away! If not, this link lets you Try Audible and get two free audiobooks as a bonus when you do!
    • Podcasts – Don’t forget the be all and end all, the podcast. If you’re an avid podcast listener, you probably already have a favorite player. But if you are looking for a new podcast, check out Terrible, Thanks for Asking. It’s beautiful and funny and sad and real, and is hosted by the luminous Nora McInerny. Warning, you may cry on the plane. #worthit.

    Use What’s On the Plane

    Most planes now come with entertainment systems built into the seat that are full of international content. They are fun to watch and can get you in the mood for your international journey.

    If you aren’t traveling with a companion, you can always try and make friends with your seatmates. But, tread lightly, because 17 hours is a very long time to make awkward conversation with someone you wouldn’t otherwise engage. Instead, try and use the time for yourself:

    • Write in your journal
    • Start a business
    • Create a 5 year plan
    • Sort through your pictures

    Remember that you’ll be served frequent meals and drinks, but it is always a good idea to have snacks and a water bottle. I don’t travel without my Hydroflask and these weirdly delicious fig bars.  Stay hydrated. Try and sleep. And remember that the destination is worth it!

    What are your plane essentials? Leave a comment and let us know what you can’t live without on a long flight! Not sure what to take? Download our complete list of airplane must-haves.


  1. Mr. X on March 27, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    OMG. This article rocks. I am heading on my longest flight ever tomorrow, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It’s over an hour and I am super active so I was nervous about not being able to find stuff to do during the flight. This is going to change my entire universe, literally and figuratively! Thanks guys, you are super-awesome.

    • George McSwimmerson on March 27, 2019 at 10:57 pm

      Are you f’ing serious dude?

  2. Ms. X on March 27, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    I wonder who this “Mr. X” really is.

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