Well, the very best way to make your airline flight better is to upgrade, or get a free upgrade to Business or First Class. Failing that, experts suggest many diversions to make the trip more enjoyable. The best diversions are rather old-fashioned, like a good book. It seems that passengers who are reading a good book looked the most relaxed and imperturbable, if that is a word.
Of course, these days, we can to be entertained. So, a good movie or two also works well, particularly if you are like me. That means you do not go to the movie theater to watch movies. I wait until a long trip overseas, and do all of my movie watching for the year on one twelve hour flight. The only problem with this scenario is that when the movies are bad, like they were on my trip from St. Petersburg back to SFO, the trip seemed to take forever.
After a good book, or several good movies, the next best diversion is sleep, or drinking, often producing the same result. Again, in Business or First Class, the food and drink options are certainly more numerous, if not better quality. But even in coach, you can use your hard-earned “free drink” coupons for some decent Scotch or bourbon.
Many of you resort to doing some work on your flight. That is a fine option if you are still working. As a retiree, I have no desire to do any work at all. In fact, in my working career, I often worked and did my required “continuing education” lessons on the plane. I have stopped reading trade journals, sticking mostly to travel journals, girlie magazines, or cycling periodicals.
In pure desperation, you can see about talking to the passenger next to you. Of course, this is easier if your seat mate is an attractive member of the opposite sex, who is both smart, and interesting. Failing that, go for a blonde, and not too bright. They are also fun to talk to (with). On my trip to Russia, I had to avoid the stinky, obese, and cigarette-smelling rail workers who seem allergic to the shower or bathtub. I also had the good fortune to meet three young Russian doctoral students, who otherwise made my trip the most enjoyable part of my Russian adventure.
Some people start out immediately with the noise-cancelling headphones. But it is best to wait until you exhaust some of the other diversions first. Failing those, you can pretend to be happy listening to music you have listened to for the past 5 years. I know you will remember to update your playlist when you get home. How many times have you said that?
I envy those who find a seatmate or travel mate who play board or card games. This is perhaps the taj mahal of travel diversions. I once played 12 handed Hearts while waiting for the Heineken Brewery to open in Amsterdam. In fact, we hated to end the game when the brewery tour and free drinking began!
A few airlines now have live television on board. This means I can watch my favorite team play their heated rival. This diversion places just behind the ultimate card game player.
By now, I think you see my composite of the very best airline seat mate. This would be an attractive, dumb blonde, alcoholic, who plays cards badly so that I can win.