For some people, traveling on an airplane is a brain and technology vacation, yet for many people, such as myself, the airplane seat becomes your 30,000-foot-high office. Generally speaking, I’m most productive when I’m on an airplane, without the distractions I’d typically have at my home office. So today, I’m sharing a few of my favorite tips for getting work done on the airplane.
Book Flights That Offer Wi-Fi
First off, if you’re planning on working on a plane and need Internet connectivity, you’ll want to make sure you’re flying on a plane that has Wi-Fi. While more and more airplanes are offering Wi-Fi, to be safe, find out which flights have Wi-Fi before you book. You can find this out on many travel search websites, such as Hipmunk.
Get a Tablet or a Keyboard
One of the biggest challenges of getting work done on the plane is having adequate room for typing on your laptop. To help solve this, consider buying either a tablet that already comes with a keyboard, such as the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, or simply buy an external keyboard that you can use with your iPad or other tablet. This will maximize your space, plus your seatmates will probably thank you.
Upgrade to a Row With More Room
You can also solve the problem of space by booking a seat with more room, and without having to upgrade to first class. Economy premium or comfort rows typically have enough extra room to allow you to get work done without feeling so cramped. Additionally, for just a few extra dollars, you can get just the room you need in an emergency exit row seat when available. If those aren’t options, an aisle seat typically gives you the most elbow room. Here are a few pro tips on how to score an upgrade.
Buy a Wi-Fi Pass
While many people may just buy a day or flight pass for in-flight Wi-Fi, you may consider buying a monthly or annual pass, especially if you travel more than once per month. Gogo is the Internet provider of many of the major domestic airlines, and sells a number of different passes, including monthly, annual and annual multi-airline passes. Pro tip: you can buy flight passes before you fly, rather than when you’re up in the air to save money.
Travel With Headphones
Traveling with headphones is a non-negotiable travel rule for me. Between overhead announcements and the threats of loud chatter, crying babies and snoring, I just don’t want to risk the potential distractions that will prevent me from working effectively. If you can’t work while listening to your favorite tunes, then download something instrumental. May I suggest the “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack.
Bring an Extra Laptop Battery or Power Station
There’s perhaps nothing worse while traveling than receiving a pop-up warning that you’re on 10 percent battery and you’re not even halfway to your destination. This is in part being solved by the ever-growing seat outlets, but those are typically only on newer planes. To prevent this, invest in an extra laptop battery or power station, such as a power station with multiple types of ports. If you want an actual back-up battery, there are also a number of back-up batteries that have multiple adapters that fit most laptop brands.
Purchase a Screen Protector
If you don’t want your neighbor looking over your shoulder at your next best-selling book or top-secret spreadsheet, then invest in a screen protector for your laptop or tablet. 3M, for example, sells a variety of privacy screen protectors, blocking people from viewing your screen from the side.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he’s not traveling, he’s perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.