My first long-haul flight was direct from New York to Taipei, Taiwan—it was 17 hours, 15 of which I slept. Granted, I have a proclivity for sleeping, perhaps more than the average person, and I’m abnormally good at it. I can sleep as well sitting up in a middle seat, sandwiched between two armrest-hogging strangers, as I can lying on a Tempurpedic mattress in the comfort of my own home.
I usually pass out before the flight crew even go over their safety procedures prior to take off. It’s a blessing and curse because, while excruciatingly long flights feel like mere minutes for me, I’ve slept through in-flight meals more times than I’ve eaten them.
Most flights I’ve taken have been at least eight hours—in fact, anything under five hours feels like teleportation to me. I don’t even like hopping on flights under three hours because, by the time I reach the REM stage of my precious nap, the plane wheels hitting the airstrip at my destination wakes me right back up. And then I’m just grumpy.
If you’re not quite as gifted at sleeping like a rock, however, or perhaps don’t want to sleep to prevent jetlag, there are other ways to entertain yourself on a ridiculously long flight. Here are some tips on how to catch some Zs and other small mercies that’ll make time fly by.