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In six months my family and I will be jumping on a plane
and heading to London, England. My cousin—my dad’s
sister’s daughter—is getting married and since she was
born in London, spent her entire life in London and met
her fiancée in London—it’s no surprise that the wedding
is in London. And that’s great for me, because London
is my favorite city in the entire world. Since my father is
from there, I have had the opportunity to visit the city
several times—starting from when I was three-years-old.
And with every trip I have made, I have come back home
with the prominent thought on my mind being “okay,
when can I go back?” I don’t know if it’s the fact that I get
to see my family, the hustle and bustle of the city, those
amazing accents, the fact that I could see a Harry Potter
actor at any time or the good food; but there is just something
about that city that makes me so incredibly happy.
Unfortunately, there is something that is standing in
my way of happiness. Something that is coming between
me and my amazing summer trip. I am, of course, talking
about the 10-hour flight I have to take in order to get to
my destination. TEN HOURS! You know, as a world, we
have accomplished so much. There have been so many
technological advancements, and yet we still haven’t
mastered a way to make long-distance trips shorter. I’m
not saying I want to travel from America to Europe in 30
minutes, but I think we can cut the trip by a couple of
hours. I mean, is it too much to ask to make the trip eight
hours rather than 10? Who wants to spend 10 hours
trapped on a metal contraption, flying through the sky?
I sure don’t.
But, when it comes to travelling the world, meeting
people, experiencing different cultures or—in my case—
going to a wedding—you do what you have to do in order
to get to your destination. Now, I am the type of person
who needs months of mental preparation before I go
on a flight. So I have already started going online and
looking up ways in which to pass the time on the flight.
Because, fortunately, the flight is only one small part of
the entire trip and I just have to do what I can to make
this flight as easy as possible.
The benefit of my flight to London is that it is a night
flight. So, if I can get to sleep for seven to eight hours, I
only have two to three hours of time to pass. The problem
is me actually getting to sleep, because I am a plane
insomniac. I have absolutely no problem sleeping in any
location—except planes. So there are several tips I follow—
taken from the Internet, talking to people I know
and from actions that have worked in the past—which
help me sleep on planes. I always make sure to sit in the
window, I wear my comfiest outfit, I bring headphones
to block out noise, I try pretending that I’m in my bed
and I start thinking of mundane things in my head; all of
which, when done together, seem to work quite well. I
know that last one sounds confusing, but basically what
it means is that I’ll try distracting my brain from thinking
of where I really am, by keeping it occupied until I’m in a
deep sleep. In order to keep it occupied I will allow it to
be filled with several thoughts—I’ll make up stories in my
head about my favorite book/movie characters, I’ll play
scenes from my favorite movies/TV shows in my head
and, sometimes, I’ll even try making lists. When I was in
high-school, and would be flying from India to my home
in Belgium at 3:00am, I’d try naming all the 400 students
in my school. I never finished, because I always ended
up falling asleep.
However, my flight on the way home is not a night
flight. So I’ll have to find another way to pass the time.
I mean I could sleep, but that’s clearly easier said than
done. Fortunately, long haul flights often have an in-flight
entertainment system. These are great because they are
packed with movies, TV shows and music that can help
you easily pass the time on flights. The selection is so
diverse that there is something on there for everyone,
and—a lot of the time—these airlines have new movies
and shows on board for the passenger’s enjoyment.
I love watching TV. I do it all the time, so there is no
chance of me not finding a show/movie that I like. I mean,
in a 10 hour flight I could watch a significant amount of
Listening to music is also a great way to pass time
on a flight. You can listen to the music on the in-flight
entertainment system or you can listen to your own
music. Music is great because, not only does it keep you
distracted, you can also get some shut-eye while listening.
I don’t mean go to sleep completely, but with your
headphones in your ears you can lean back in your chair
and close your eyes. This allows your eyes to rest and,
who knows, maybe you do end up falling asleep. That
actually isn’t so bad, as sleeping is one of the best ways
to pass time.
Talking to someone can also be a great distraction and
way to pass time. If you are travelling with people, like I
will be, you can obviously converse with them. My sister
and I always sit next to each other on flights. She is the
type of person that has a lot of friends and with more
friends, comes more funny stories. We can talk about
our lives, encounters with other people and experiences
at college (her) and work (me) for hours—something that
is especially useful on long plane rides. If you are travelling
alone, then consider striking up a conversation with
the people sitting next to you. I mean they are probably
just as bored as you are and might be craving for some
human conversation. The best thing is that they don’t
know you at all, so you can be anyone you want. You can
make yourself and your life as glamorous and interesting
as you want it to be because, chances are, you will never
see that person again once you get off the plane. If nothing
else, it is a way to make a friend and later, when the
meals are served, you can have that slice of cake they
so kindly give you. Unless your flight neighbor is me, in
which case, I don’t share my dessert. Ever.
The longer the flight, the more boring, tedious and
irritating it may be. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
When it comes to flying, like everything else, it’s all about
your attitude towards it. If you have a good attitude the
entire flying experience will go off a lot easier than if you
have a bad attitude. So do whatever you have to do to
get distracted and pass the time, and think about the fact
that, when you land, you will be looking at an amazing
vacation in front of you.

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