Five things to do on a plane

I had to fly to Perth recently for a Choral Inter-varsity, and during the flight, I was provided every type of entertainment that could be conveyed through a personal touch-screen and a pair of headphones; I was offered a wide selection of music, television shows, movies and games. It’s funny what such a large range of entertainment available for a limited time can do to a person; my brain went into overdrive, I wanted to watch everything! listen to everything! play all the games (not really)! In the end I managed to watch 7 minutes of Griff the Invisible, 49 minutes of No Strings Attached, half of two How I Met Your Mother episodes, fast-forwarded my way through a Katy Perry concert and listened to the first few minutes of many, many songs. Then my six-hour flight ended and I was separated from the plane’s amazing entertainment system into a world of 9-hour singing rehearsals a day (but that’s another story).

The promise of another entertainment-filled flight on the way back to Sydney made departing the plane much more bearable. I don’t think you understand just how much I love the idea of having that much media at my fingertips; I like it a lot. I liked the idea of more hours being able to revel in the loveliness that was personalised in-flight entertainment. So you can imagine my shock and disappointment when the Inter-varsity finished and I found myself on a plane sans tiny touch screen.

What? What did they expect me to do on my commute back to Sydney? I wanted to watch the first few minutes of a lot of different movies, damnit! I wanted to attempt to play some lame action/adventure game and then give up because it’s too hard! I wanted to browse their music collection and complain about it being too mainstream and out of date! So many lost opportunities!

All they provided me with was a pair of headphones and a paltry selection of radio stations that played on repeat through the flight. I couldn’t even fast forward through them to get to the songs I liked. Puh-leeze. Instead, I had to find other ways to amuse myself. Without further adieu, I present to you five things to do on a plane.

1. Observe people and imagine their lives once they get off the plane. Maybe one of my favourite things to do anywhere; it allows me to make up stories and judge people based solely on appearance. FUN! A corpulent man in a suit is obviously a corrupt business man on his way to meet his hired assassin to discuss how best to discreetly dispose of his former business partner’s body. The two small blonde children who keep running up and down the aisle are looking for their nanny, who is overworked and underpaid, and in the stress of trying to get the children to stop crying over one reason or another, she’d forgotten the girl’s hand luggage and only realised once she sat the children in their seats. Frantically, she dashes off the plane to retrieve the luggage, but fighting the crowds of people entering the plane is like trying to swim upstream, and the bag has already been handed over to security, so that by the time the nanny retrieves it, the plane’s already left. The children arrive in Sydney alone, and the nanny gets fired.

2. Watch the in-flight movie without headphones, make up your own dialogue. You can make it up in your head or say it out loud, but the latter is always more fun. Points for inappropriate dialogue that may offend the people around you. For instance, the in-flight movie for my flight was Soul Surfer, the tragic story of a surfer who had her arm torn off by a shark. My travel-mate Kyri and I began riffing off horrible dialogue centered around her missing arm and in the process, christened her ‘Stumpy’. Did I mention we are terrible people?

3. Steal everything. Planes are filled with things you can take. Think about it: the in-flight magazine; aeroplane cutlery; barf bags; sanitary pads (available in the toilets); blankets; pillows; headphones that are useless outside of the plane unless you have a weird adaptor thing; other people’s food while they sleep. The possibilities are endless! Granted, you have to be sneaky while taking some of these things, and you they won’t actually be useful to you in the Real World, but stealing’s always fun, right? Kleptomania anyone? Anyone? … Bueller?

4. Write lists on the back of your newly-stolen barf bags. For instance: a list of things to do on an entertainment-less plane; ways to discreetly get rid of the small child constantly kicking the back of your seat; things you’d rather eat than aeroplane food.

You could also draw!


Draw cats! Cats are adorable!

5. Enjoy take-offs and landings. They’re like roller coasters, and eeeverybody likes roller coasters! However if roller coasters happen to terrify you, you can always grip the hand of the person sitting next to you and stare them down with a look of pure panic the whole time. It helps if you know the person you’re sitting next to, but if you don’t, it just makes things more fun!


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