What to Do When Your Plane has No Seatback Entertainment

There is an unfortunate trend in air travel that I find particularly irritating. It’s the disappearance of the seat back TV. It’s been happening for a while now, and as a self-proclaimed old lady who hates change and resists new technology, I don’t like it. 

But here we are, over 1/5 into the 21st century, and I’m finally catching up. Yes, even me! So here are some of my personal favorite things to do when seat back entertainment is not available! 

Download Movies and TV Shows

I know, it’s so irritating to be on a trans-continental flight for five to six hours (or more if there’s a tarmac-related delay) with no seatback TV. Personally, I don’t watch a lot of TV in my real life, so when I fly, I love to catch up on new movies and whole seasons of Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Hawaii 5-0, and maybe some series I didn’t know I liked, you know?

Some of the reasons seatback entertainment went by the wayside are because airlines wanted to save money, and because more and more people were downloading movies and TV shows to their own devices for their flights. I hate that, because not everyone has an iPad or wants to tote it with them when they travel. But that’s what we all have to do now. I like to download movies and TV shows from Netflix and Prime to my phone when we travel. The screen is small, but that’s what I’ve got!

Some favorites I’ve downloaded in the past are Falling Inn Love on Netflix (set in New Zealand), Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable on Netflix (filmed in epic surf spots all over the world), Magnum PI on Prime (the original set on O’ahu in the ’80s with Tom Selleck!), and Amazing Race and Survivor on Prime (which always inspire my wanderlust!). What are your favorites to binge watch on your flights? What’s on Hulu these days?

I’m always ready to binge-watch something set in an exotic locale!
More here: How to Survive Long-Haul Flights

Read a Book

This is my favorite! I’m always so distracted when I try to read at home. There’s always laundry dinging, dishes that need to be put away, regular everyday stuff that gets in the way, you know. But on a long flight, I can knock out a whole book, or close to it! In fact, my Lost and Found Series was written intentionally to be read on a flight!

Need to inspire European Waderlust? I have the perfect book for you!
Want more book recommendations? Check out my Online Shop for the best!

Create a Playlist

Music makes everything better right? It makes our workouts more enjoyable, our shopping experiences more fun, and our travel days less boring! I love a good theme, and theme-inspired music makes my lttle heart flutter. Need a travel playlist? Check out mine on Spotify! Want to make it Christmas Travel instead? Okay, click here!

You DEFINITELY want my travel playlist in your life!
More here: How to Savor Your Travels

Download Some Podcasts

I am late to the podcast game, but I’m happy to announce that I’m fully onboard! There are podcasts about everything. Anything you’re interested in, it’s out there in podcast form. Some of my favorites are the Girls Go Abroad podcast for all the solo lady travelers out there, the Chosen Girl: Tell Me ‘Bout It podcast that focuses on topics to encourage Christian women every week, and The Good Office Podcast by my friends at Marie Mae Company talking all about how to be a positive force for good at work and in life.

What’s your favorite podcast? Message me on Instagram or comment below so I can hop on it!

Check out my episode on the Good Office Podcast!
Get the whole scoop: The Business of Traveling for Good

Explore Your Airline’s App

Have you poked around on your airline’s app recently? You might be surprised at the capabilities it gives you in flight. You can connect to the wi-fi for free via the app and watch movies and TV shows, search for future travel, and even track your flight’s progress throughout your trip! Worried your luggage didn’t make it onboard? Yeah, you can track that, too.

Get more at 35,000 feet and beyond!
More here: Tips for Flying United

Get a Little Work Done

I know, this is the boring, type A, OCD part of me coming out. I love to get work done on airplanes! It’s such a fantastic use of time, and I feel so much less stressed when I get to my destination because I know I have less work to do when I get there. Whether you’re working offline on a blog post or paying for the airplane’s wi-fi to respond to e-mails, use your time as you like!

I love to edit photos, write blog posts, and do some brainstorming for my books on my flights!
More here: How to Make a Business Trip Fun


If you can, do it! I am, unfortunately, very unable to sleep on airplanes, but my husband is an airplane sleeping champion! Bring an eyemask, bring noise-cancelling headphones, bring a pillow–do whatever it takes to help you sleep.

My Love, the Super Sleeper!
Keep reading: How to Practice Self Care on Travel

So what’s your preferred airplane activity? Comment below!

Want more? Check out my Air Travel Page for all my best air travel tips and hacks!

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4 responses to “What to Do When Your Plane has No Seatback Entertainment”

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