What's Your Preferred Viewing On Long Flights?

One of the things that makes international travel more tolerable these days is the ease with which you can entertain yourself. Many flights have on-demand entertainment systems built in with stacks of TV and movie content, and even if they don't, it's easy to load up a netbook or tablet with a bunch of DVD rips and watch exactly what you want. But what makes for the best in-flight viewing?

Picture by Binder.donedat

This topic came up in the Allure offices recently, and we turn out to have wildly differing views. I like watching sitcoms or undemanding movie comedies, because I don't want to concentrate too hard and I figure effects-fests are wasted on the small screen. Others favoured documentaries, or a hard drive filled with an entire US drama series. I don't personally like live TV (a la Virgin domestic) because you never know if you'll get to see the end of the show, but news junkies love it.

What's your preferred in-flight entertainment type, and why? Tell us in the comments.


    Take a few movies and a couple of seasons of shows, variety of styles, along with audiobooks on phone (flightmode) and a few podcasts.

    Havent touched actual in flight entertainment in years. Thank god my ultrabook has 6+ hours of battery life, and lots of flights have power now.

    I usually watch a blockbuster or two, to catch up on pop culture. Then maybe a sitcom or two (or mythbusters or something if they have it). And I usually read for a while - books make the whole experience through checking in, waiting around, boarding, taking off etc much more pleasant.

    Watching stuff on a netbook involves too much preparation (loading movies, charging the thing, carrying headphones) for my taste.

    I usually take my netbook and external 1tb hard drive and have movies and tv shows, but I end up watching the in flight entertainment half the time because I want to watch movies I wouldn't have bothered paying for or even downloading . I also have my android phone and a kindle in case I get sick of watching movies and tv. (I go on 12 hr flights at least twice a year)

    A book.
    Podcasts to give my eyes a rest too.

    tottaly agree with the comment about not watching effect heavy movies. I have several seasons of the simpsons and south park on my iphone. Given they are only about 20mins each and I can start and stop without affecting "the plot", its quite good for me. I can usually get through 2 episodes on a Brisbane-Sydney flight.

    On long-haul flights to Europe or the US I'll watch a couple of movies (from whatever is on offer in the in-flight entertainment – Emirates has an especially impressive library of choices). But the dry atmosphere in the cabin always gets to my eyes, so I also do as much listening (and sleeping) as I can. Audio dramatisations – not readings – of books; audio plays; podcasts; and music. All of which comes with me on an iPod.

    Etymotic in-ear monitors are an essential accessory for top quality sound and blocking unwanted aircraft noise (which they do amazingly well and much more satisfactorily than noise-cancelling headphones). I have an airplane adaptor, which means I can use the Etys for the movies as well.

      Where do you get the airplane adaptor? I have Etymotic earphones but I haven't been able to find a cheap airplane adaptor for them :(

        Most places that sell headphones have them - Dick Smith, JBHifi etc.

          $1 each from ebay:

        Some airlines actually have the little adapters with the headphones they pass out for free or for a price. Maybe just ask on your next flight (probably more likely on longer flights/international)

    I load my iPad up with movies and TV (I also fill an SD card and use the camera connection kit), noise cancelling headphones (Audio Technica ANC7b) which I find more comfortable than earplugs. Key component is the iPhone/iPod remote control spliced into the headphone cable so i can start/stop/skip/volume.

    I favour undemanding 'light' movies, and shorter TV shows for the plane. It is easier to pick back up when you fall asleep partway through.

    I always load up some books, but I find I don't concentrate enough on the book and fall back to light, mindless entertainment.

    a few podcasts (a state of trance/UKF etc) my kindle (with wireless turned off) and a few eps if its a long flight.

    I generally just do the podcasts, most of my flights are syd-mel

    Mmmm.. Depends on whether I intend to sleep.

    If I don't, I'll watch movies that I haven't seen before, documentaries and standup comedy.

    If I do, I'll listen to some music on low volume until I doze off. :)

    I rotate between reading, playing my psx emulator on phone and watching TV shows.

    Last I flew to NZ though (from Perth) they actually had a pretty good range of things to watch on Air NZ so I ended up watching a few movies that I normally wouldn't have bothered with.

    Football Manager

    For me it's an iPad loaded with my TV shows that I want to watch, my movies that I want to watch, my podcasts that I want to listen to and my audiobooks... couple that with a 10 hour battery life, and something that slips into the seat-back pocket come meal times... and we have the almost perfect long haul entertainment device. I say almost perfect... perfect would be if the seat back in front of me had an iPad sized slot I could dock it into.... but that's really more the fault of the aircraft designers... ;)

    Damn 22 hour flights are crazy!! I for one cannot sleep EVER in any plane, except the a380 because it is more quiet. Best way to survive the long hours when not having an ipad/pod/tablet etc and only can rely on inflight ent and cannot fricking sleep:
    1: See which movies are on, then watch a complete cr*p movie which usually does not interest you, just so you've seen it. (2 hours gone)
    2: There is bound to be a 3 hour movie on the flight, watch that next. (3 hour gone)
    3: Watch the movie you haven't seen yet and really want to watch last (about 2 hours gone)

    What are we on? Oh yeah 7 or 8 hours into the flight.

    4: try to sleep, if you cannot after an hour, (1 hour gone) watch one
    of the movies they play which you have seen a million times already (2 hours gone) before you land and have to refuel and catch your connecting flight.

    5: do the same thing on the 2nd flight!! They usually have a different set of movies, if you are not catching the same airline

    I always line up a list of things to watch and do: channel surf and watch a bit of every in-flight channel a few times, go through all the in-flight music channels, read the duty-free shopping magazine, read my own brought magazine, watch a couple of new-release movies, try all the available in-flight games, whip out the laptop and watch/play/read on it until the battery exhausts itself, and then read a book.

    What actually ends up happening is that I'll get nauseous once we hit a decent altitude. I sit through one new release with a headache, watch something short on my laptop then alternate between trying unsuccessfully to sleep and staring lifelessly at the map on the in-flight screen. I wish I could fly well. I normally have no problem killing 10 hours by just reading and watching stuff.

    I like the entertainment system on V Australia planes, but a hard drive with lots of movies and tv series is the best. Or you can get a prescription for some stilnox and skip a large portion of the flight, and force yourself into the sleep pattern of your destination time zone.

    Audio books

    - iPad
    - Bose QC15
    - Mainly US telivison becuase that teevee guy has allready taken out the adds and watching an entire season back to back is awesome. I have a date with Breaking Bad on two 10 hour long hauls over xmas.
    - but i would ditch televison and movies if i could get broad band on intl flights.

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