How Tech Can Upgrade Your Next Flight

The best ways to stay connected while you travel this holiday season.

The thought of flying home for the holidays is enough to give most people jet lag. You’ll wait in long lines, suffer through delays, and fight to get a seat on a packed flight. (The things we do for family, right?) Thankfully, travel is more tolerable with tech to pass the time.

Traveloka, a company that helps users book flights and hotels, just released its list of the 50 most tech-friendly airlines in the world. The top picks have three things in common: fast, affordable Wi-Fi, charging ports, and a way to stay connected via phone or text. But even if you’re flying on an airline that doesn’t offer these amenities, there are several ways you can plan ahead and make your flight less of a grind.

Download Some Entertainment

Not every airline offers in-flight movies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your own. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video let you download your favorite shows to watch offline. You can binge-watch Parks and Recreation right there in row 22.

You can binge-watch Parks and Recreation right there in row 22.

Want to rest your eyes and listen to music instead? Download your favorite playlists from Spotify, Apple Music, or Pandora, and enjoy them without needing mobile data or wireless internet (Wi-Fi)—although this will require a paid subscription. The same goes for Google Podcasts. Just make sure you have enough storage on your phone or tablet before downloading anything, and start doing so at home the night before; airport Wi-Fi can be slow, especially around the holidays.

Bring Noise-Cancelling Headphones

You won’t get complimentary ear buds on every airline, and even when you do, they’ll probably be sub par. Instead of wasting five dollars on a bad audio experience, pack some noise-cancelling headphones, like the Beatsx or the AKG N60NC Wireless. Not only will they help you enjoy your music, they’ll also tune out the guy next to you who can’t stop clearing his throat.

Bring a Portable Charger

With limited outlets on board, forgetting to charge your battery could have consequences. Do you really want to be stuck reading SkyMall for two hours? No. Instead, pack a portable charger that works with your phone or tablet, so you can keep using it without interruption. Among the two most popular: The Anker PowerCore 20100 and RAVPower Turbo 20100mAh; they will charge multiple devices at the same time. Just don’t forget to bring the USB cable.

Download an E-Book (or Two)

No need to carry around a bulky paperback. You can find a huge selection of free and inexpensive books for your tablet or phone on websites like Amazon, Kobo, and Download some titles before your flight in case you get bored after that second hour of Hulu. Your device’s backlit screen will also eliminate the need to turn on the overhead lamp while your seatmate is snoozing.

Download the Airline’s App

These apps are useful for more than booking fares and checking in. Major carriers like Southwest, American Airlines, and United Airlines have apps that feature on-demand TV, movies, and games. They can also connect you with ride-hailing services, car rentals, and shuttles, so you’re ready to go as soon as the plane lands.



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