How To Make The The Most Of A 14 Hour Plane Flight

Friday, March 15th, 2013

This week I flew from Sydney Australia to Los Angeles on a 14 hour Qantas flight in a new Airbus 380.

I thought I’d share my top tips to become more productive in-flight and what can throw your well laid plans out the window.

This trip to America is a combination of a family holiday with my wife and 17 year old son joining me. However, while they are strictly on holiday, it’s also a business trip with a stop off in Phoenix to attend Infusioncon 2013.

It’s also essential for me to have internet access along my travels so I can connect daily with my staff back in Perth.

My plans for the flight had been to edit the audio of a podcast recording I did with Steve Galilee in Sydney. He worked on the political trail with ex-Prime Minister John Howard and has some great insight into a demanding public position.

So, that was first on my agenda with the flight.

Second was to prepare another 5 Minute Motivator to complete the first weeks recordings due to be published in April.

Finally, I wanted to mind map a few new e-courses. All in all, I was expecting to work for a total of 5 hours during the flight.

S&J PlaneIn-Flight Tips

My first tip  – take your laptop with you and make sure it’s fully charged before you get onto the plane. Given my new notebook purchase, I knew I’d have around 8 hours of battery life available. More than enough for what I wanted to do.

Ensure all your software is there! I forgot to install Reaper (my sound editing software) on my new notebook. Luckily, I had time waiting at the terminal and using the free Wifi was able to install it before take off.

Why I Hate Flying As Much As Public Transport

Have you ever jumped on a train and found there were a few ignoramuses around you? You know the kinds I’m talking about right? Those that have no social graces, they are loud, obnoxious and couldn’t care less about you or other passengers.

Well this is where all of my good intentions came unstuck.

The plane was pretty much packed out – my wife and son let me have the window seat giving me a little more arm room which would come in handy when I was typing.

We sat on the tarmac for about 1hr as the engineers were trying to fix a problem with one of the engines. Some might have complained, I on the other hand was happy they were so thorough.

Finally, we took off and got airborne. 25 minutes later as the plane started leveling out the seat belt sign was removed. And this is where the douche factor comes in.

The douche in front of me immediately dropped his seat back all the way – leaving the back of his headrest a no more than a handspan away from my face.

What a douche.

He then proceeded to massage (what I can only guess was the most pungent anti-fungal cream) into his face, neck, ears and arms for the next 20 minutes. A ritual he repeated a few more times during the flight.

I’m not sure what was worse – the screaming babies and the pooey nappies or his pungent cream. Both were equally disgusting.

To top it off – he kept farting. Now… in such a small space, you expect to have to put up with that at some point. But over and over again?

With the seat in full recline at all stages except take-off, landing and when food was served, I was unable to open my laptop screen more than 25 degrees. Meaning my work plans were out the window.

There were alternatives. I could have swapped seats with my wife or my son, but I just didn’t think that was fair on them. Given the work wasn’t critical, it didn’t really matter – but it definitely made a long flight feel even longer.

There were a few times I felt this overwhelming urge to stand up and shout “LET ME OUT NOW” – where I was just sick of sitting in that seat for that long.

Thankfully, we arrived in LA to some wonderful weather and what can only be described as some terrific American hospitality. I can’t wait to see what the next 33 days bring.