How to be More Productive While Flying

December 18, 2014 • Devin Partida


Although there’s nothing wrong with spending your time in an airplane watching movies, listening to music or taking a nap, it’s sometimes necessary to get work done while in the air. This is especially true for those who travel for business; oftentimes, the only free time they’ll have to complete work is while flying.

With the help of technology, it’s fully possible to prepare for a productive flight using the five tips below.

Shop Around for the Optimal Seat and Size Specifications

Prior to the flight, research all possible options to maximize comfort and space. A site like Seat Guru provides an interactive flight map with size specifications for seat size, feet room, etc. Some airlines have a tight 30-inch economy class, while others are considerably larger — for the same price. By using a service like Seat Guru or something similar, you have full control of where you can sit with your work in mind.

Similarly, the Seat Alerts app can notify you of better seats that become available for your flight or another. This is very useful if you have a lot of work but are stuck in a cramped middle seat. With this app, a notification can help you find a window seat or somewhere more spacious that will serve as an ideal workspace.

Get Some Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones really work; if they are a quality pair, you won’t hear anything but what’s playing over the headphones. No more crying babies or noisy announcements, which can be a dream for getting work done productively.

Noise-cancelling headphones aren’t new by any measure, but recent versions, like the Bose QuietComfort 25, take it to the next level by being both lightweight and effective; they’re perfect for blocking noise during airline travel.

sitting in a plane

Prepare for a Bumpy Arrival

After landing, it’s important to remain productive in most cases. Trouble with baggage or transportation can prevent this. As a result, it’s important to become familiar with crowdsourced transportation services like Uber, or if you prefer to rent your own car, use Hertz RentACar.

Knowing ahead of time what to do in case of a delay related to baggage, transportation, or something else can save substantial time in the long term.

Use Your Laptop’s USB Port for Charging

Even if the airline doesn’t offer ports for charging, you can use what’s left of your laptop battery to also charge USB devices like an iPhone. Simply connect the device via a USB to your laptop and enjoy the new charge.

Alternatively, you can choose from many portable iPhone chargers and prep them beforehand, so no outlet or electricity is necessary if you need your phone for work but its battery is about to die.

Use a Flight Stand

It’s common to use a variety of sources for work, from a computer monitor to a textbook. At home it’s possible to have all these things sprawled out on a table, but on a plane not so much. To consolidate space on an airplane and increase productivity as a result, consider using a flight stand like the Arctic Flight Stand to latch your iPad or other tablet to the seat ahead of you. Suddenly, your in-flight work space is significantly bigger in size.

Flying can be a real hassle, with frequent obstacles that are preventative against getting work done. However, the tips and gadgets above should help travelers considerably in being able to work productively in the air.

Whether it’s noise-cancelling headphones to block out distracting noise or a flight stand to maximize what little workspace you do have, these additions can make working in flight significantly easier.

Images by Gratisography