Gina Mei
September 06, 2014 10:48 am

To recline or not to recline, that is the question. Everyone has an opinion on the great airplane debate, but recently, it’s been getting a little out of hand. In the past couple weeks, multiple flights have been diverted from their final destinations due to passengers arguing over the right to recline, and just a couple of days ago, yet another was forced to land early when a fight got so intense that drinks were thrown. Oh dear.

We all know flying isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but rather than fight over an extra inch of space, here are just a few creative ways to keep yourself distracted on your next flight!

1. Buy a cheap coloring book and get weird with it

Coloring is incredibly mindless, therapeutic, and fun. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you need to color inside the lines: Use unique palettes, shake up your shading technique, and take advantage of all that negative space. In case turning Hello Kitty into a feminist T-shirt-wearing cat/girl isn’t your style, there are plenty of coloring books for “grown-ups,” too (RyGos, I’m looking at you).

2. Use peanuts/pretzels and a piece of paper to play Mancala

Yes, I went there. Draw the “game board” on a piece of paper (or napkin, whatever you have handy), do your basic set-up (combine forces and/or ask for an extra bag if you need more “pieces”), and play as normal. The best part? You get to eat the peanuts/pretzels when you’re done. Hooray for easy clean-up!

3. Get a magazine you wouldn’t normally read. . .and make some resolutions

Reading something other than your usual fare helps to keep things interesting when you’re cramped up on a plane and bored with your book. Flip through some gorgeous travel photos and plan your dream vacation. Pick up a health mag and pretend you’ll actually do the exercises recommended. The options are limitless!

4. Write a short story that takes place (where else?) on a plane

I (weirdly) feel my most creative on airplanes, possibly because there’s no free Wi-Fi, which means there’s no Internet to distract me. Forcing yourself to imagine something interesting happening on a plane can actually help make the trip itself more interesting. Feel free to apply this idea to your medium of choice: poetry, songwriting (let’s keep it to lyrics until we’re off the plane), visual art, and screenwriting would all be awesome, too.

5.  Practice your flip cup skills

If you can successfully flip your (empty) cup on an airplane, you can do it anywhere. It’s all about the gentle touch. That being said, make sure not to accidentally flip it into your neighbor’s lap. In fact, you should probably completely disregard this suggestion if you don’t know the person sitting next to you. Let’s not divert any more planes.

6. Play a game of MASH

Do you remember this game? Of course you do. Because it was awesome. If you’re traveling with someone (friend, family, partner, snakes, etc.), bring back this classic. It’s always amazing to share some giggles and reminisce about elementary school celebrity crushes, no matter your location.

7. Window shop at Sky Mall and pick out the weirdest things to “buy”

Have you flipped through the Sky Mall catalog lately? Because it is chock-full of ridiculous gems (including the Knee Defender, which caused one of the recent flight diversions). I love finding the most overpriced and silly things it has to offer, as well as all the things I never even knew I needed, but now sort of really want.

8. Whip out some airplane Bingo

Bring out your inner child with this printable Bingo board for two. If you make a few copies in advance, you can swap out some of the squares with new things to spot, for variety’s sake (maybe “people arguing over reclining chairs” should be one?).

(Images viavia, via, via, via, via, via, via, via.)

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