For years my primary mobile gaming time has been on airplanes. It wasn’t until recently I discovered just how many damn ads mobile games have. It turns out the feet-on-the-ground fix gives you more than just ad-free game time.
Call me blissfully naive if you want, but for the longest time I simply thought my favorite mobile games didn’t have the same ads-everywhere problem that plagued most mobile games. It turns out that wasn’t the case.
The case was that when I was at home, I would use a game console or PC to game; when I was away from home traveling for work, I’d play games on my iPhone on the plane. When you’re on the plane, your phone is in airplane mode and, you guessed it, when you’re in airplane mode, there’s no network access to deliver and load the ads—so the app simply doesn’t bother.
Home from a recent trip, I went to show my family a puzzle game I’d really enjoyed and was surprised to see the thoughtfully designed puzzle game had full-screen ads (for the dumbest cartoon-style Sims knockoff I’d ever seen) playing after every single puzzle.
The solution? Pop the phone into airplane mode and enjoy not only an ad-free game experience but a nice break from the pings, dings, and constant notifications that permeate modern life.
One of life’s greatest challenges is getting quality sleep on an Economy seat on a long-haul flight—at least that’s how it feels. We’re here to help make your next trip more bearable.
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who can fall asleep even standing, you know the frustration that comes with spending the night at 30,000 feet in the air with limited space, surrounded by strangers, and with the mind-numbing drone of the jet playing in the background.
Though seemingly impossible, there are ways to secure better shuteye and proper rest on overnight flights. Read on for all the tips you’ll need on your next trip.
Pick the Right Seat
Frequent flyers are aware of the importance of seat location. If you pick the right one for you, you’ve already done half the job to ensuring some well-deserved undisrupted sleep throughout the flight.
Window seats provide you with a wall to rest your head and prevent you from having people bothering you every time they need to use the restroom. However, if you’re one to use the toilet rather often or to walk around when you can’t sleep, then you should pick an aisle seat on the central block of seats. That way when you’re awake, you can get up as many times as you please, and when you’re sleeping your neighbor can simply turn to the other passenger next to them to let them through.
Emergency exit and bulkhead seats should be avoided as the former don’t usually recline, and the latter tend to be reserved for families with infants.
As a general rule, pick seats near the front of the plane and away from lavatories and the galley to avoid loud noises and unpleasant smells. If the airline allows it, you can reserve a seat during the booking process. Alternatively, you can ask at the check-in desk if they can change your seat to any that would suit your preferences.
There are three components to a good night sleep: light, temperature, and sound. These are the tools you’ll need to fulfill them:
A Quality Eye Mask: Though they are generally provided free of charge, some airlines require you to pay for them, and the quality is often disappointing. Do your research and invest in a thick and soft eye mask that provides you with the comfort you need. Look for the kind with extra foldable fabric on the lower edge as that will prevent any light from reaching your eyelids.
A Hoodie and Extra Socks: Other than dry, the air in the aircraft is usually quite cold, so extra layers might make it easier to sleep. Bring your favorite sweater and an extra pair of socks to avoid relying on the thin blankets they give you on the flight. And don’t forget to buckle in over your outer layer if you don’t want to be awakened by a flight attendant wanting to check your seatbelt!
A Travel Blanket: A hoodie might be a more versatile pick (after all you can wear it when you reach your destination), but if you crave the comfort of a blanket we understand. Fortunately, there are some nice ultra-light travel blankets to choose from.
Noise-Canceling Headphones: Following meal service, the atmosphere on the plane tends to quiet down. However, engine noise can still make it difficult for you to get some rest. Putting on noise-canceling headphones can help with the challenge. You can either listen to white noise to lull yourself into sleep, or you can leave them on but unplugged to minimize the surrounding noise. If the cost of noise-canceling headphones is too much for your budget (good pairs are pretty pricey) or you just dislike the feeling of pressure in your ear that some people experience while using them, you can also use specialty airplane earplugs—the plugs have a little pressure valve so your ears can pop naturally.
Get a Neck Pillow or Use the Headrest
Not a lot of people know this, but neck pillows are meant to be used to rest your chin, not the nape of your neck. There are lots of options on the market that differ in features and price tag so you can be sure there’s one perfect for you out there. If you’re not sure where to start, the top pick for traditional neck pillows over at our sister-site Review Geek is the BCOZZY model seen above—it’s a comfy take on the standard U-shape.
Alternatively, you can make full use of your seat. Nowadays, most airplanes have headrest cushions that you can adjust by moving it up and down, and by bending the extremities to get some support to rest your head while you sleep.
Though some people like to use the meal tray as a surface where to lean their arms and head to sleep, it’s not a good position for the spine. Instead, it’s recommended you lean back on your seat and let your uncrossed legs relax in front of you. Such a position favors your skeleton as well as your circulation and prevents you from waking up in the middle of the night feeling sore or uncomfortable.
Say No to Caffeine and Alcohol
Yes, it’s difficult. Who doesn’t enjoy free drinks after all, especially if alcohol is included in the deal? However, for as good as coffee and wine can be, they can disrupt your sleep cycle and leave you feeling groggy after an unsuccessful attempt at getting some shuteye on the flight. Opt for chamomile tea instead. It might be less exciting, but it can help you feel more relaxed and soothed. So bring a tea bag with you and prepare to feel zen. You can always double your caffeine intake the following day!
If herbal tea doesn’t cut it, lavender might help. Not only does it have a pleasant smell, but it also has sleep-inducing properties that can come in very handy on a long-haul flight. If the sticky feeling of oil and hand lotion isn’t your thing, there are plenty of lavender-scented products you can choose from, including sprays, inhalers, and even neck pillows and eye masks—talk about killing two birds with one stone!
Don’t Be Scared of Melatonin
This hormone, which we naturally produce in our bodies, can be a lifesaver for frequent flyers as well as for those who travel across many time zones and don’t have the time to deal with the jet lag. Melatonin is produced at nighttime, and it regulates your circadian rhythm, that is your sleep-wake cycle. Take some as soon as you board the plane and wait for your body to process it and make you fall asleep. To fight the jet lag, take more on your first night at your destination.
Two things happen when we overeat: you feel uncomfortable, and your heart has to work harder to pump blood to the digestive system. Overeating usually leads to bloating, and considering gas expands at higher altitudes, you can expect your level of discomfort to be much greater than it usually is back at home.
While it’s tempting to load up on airport food, it’s probably not the typical fare you usually eat and stuffing yourself full of food that’s much greasier or carb-loaded than usual is a recipe for an unsettled stomach on your flight. It’s also a good idea to stir away from salty foods as they lead to water retention and dehydration. However, airplane food is high in sodium compared to standard restaurant food as our sense of taste weakens at traveling altitudes. If possible, book your meal preference in advance otherwise make sure to bring healthy snacks with you to eat before or after you sleep.
Board the Plane Tired
Falling asleep when you’re not tired isn’t easy. To prepare your body for a long flight, do an intense workout hours before departure or wake up earlier than usual on that morning. Your energy levels will eventually drop, and by the time you finish your meal, you’ll be ready to get some well-deserved shuteye.
Although it may not feel like it, it is possible to sleep soundly on a plane. Try these tricks for yourself next time you’re on a long-haul flight; you won’t regret it. Sweet dreams!
Grab an Android phone, iPhone, iPad, or even a Windows 10 PC, and you’ll see an airplane mode toggle in the shortcut menu. But what is airplane mode and what does it actually mean? How can you use it to your advantage on your phone or PC?
We’ll answer all your questions about airplane mode and more.
What Is Airplane Mode?
Airplane mode is a setting available on nearly all smartphones, laptops, and similar devices. When you activate airplane mode, it stops all signal transmission from your device. You’ll see an airplane icon in your phone’s status bar when it’s on.
The feature is known as airplane mode because many airlines prohibit wireless devices on their planes, especially when taking off and landing. There’s some debate on whether phones could interfere with the radio equipment in planes, but most think it’s best to err on the side of caution.
What Does Airplane Mode Do?
Airplane mode disables all wireless functions of your phone or laptop, including:
Cellular connection: You can’t make calls, send text messages, or use mobile data to access the internet.
Wi-Fi: Your device will disconnect from any existing Wi-Fi connections and won’t connect to any new ones.
Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a short-range connection that lets you link your phone to speakers, headphones, and more. Airplane mode disables it.
GPS is a bit different. It doesn’t transmit any radio waves, so depending on your phone, airplane mode may or may not turn off GPS. While offline map apps work without an internet connection, features like live traffic won’t work in airplane mode.
How to Toggle Airplane Mode on Android
To enable airplane mode on your Android device, follow these steps:
Swipe down from the top of the screen two times to open the Quick Settings panel. Alternatively, you can swipe down once using two fingers.
Look for the Airplane mode toggle in the grid. If you don’t see it, you might need to swipe to the side to access more icons.
Tap it, and your phone enters airplane mode.
Repeat these steps to disable airplane mode. Note that it may take your phone a moment to reconnect to Wi-Fi and cellular data after leaving airplane mode. If your phone doesn’t have this shortcut for some reason, you can toggle airplane mode at Settings > Network & Internet > Airplane mode.
On Windows 10, you can toggle airplane mode through the Action Center. Press Win + A or click the notification bubble icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen to open it, then look for the Airplane mode toggle at the bottom.
Yes, airplane mode definitely helps your device save battery life. The various radios in your phone take up a lot of power. They regularly push app notifications over Wi-Fi, communicate with Bluetooth devices and cell towers, and check your location.
That all drains a lot of power, so disabling them all at once is a great way to keep your phone alive longer. Because your phone doesn’t do as much work in airplane mode, it should also charge faster.
Can You Use Wi-Fi on Airplane Mode?
This depends on your device, but most modern phones allow you to use Wi-Fi even when in airplane mode. When you enable airplane mode, Wi-Fi shuts off, but you can enable it again manually.
On your Android device, swipe down from the top of the screen twice to open Quick Settings again, then tap Wi-Fi. Give it a few seconds, and you’ll see Wi-Fi turn on and connect (if your phone allows this). On an iPhone, open Control Center and tap the Wi-Fi toggle in the same way.
, so you can enable this feature to enjoy that if applicable. If you’re not sure, you should check with an airline employee before you try connecting. Planes only allow Wi-Fi above 10,000 feet, however, so take care to keep Wi-Fi turned off during takeoff and landing.
Does Bluetooth Work in Airplane Mode?
This is a similar scenario to the above. Enabling airplane mode disables Bluetooth, but on most phones and laptops you can turn it back on with the shortcut toggle. Airlines don’t care much about Bluetooth, because its range is so short.
Enabling Bluetooth lets you pair your Bluetooth earbuds, keyboard, or similar devices. Even when you’re not in a plane, you can do this to save battery while listening to offline music through Bluetooth headphones.
Does Airplane Mode Use Data?
No, because enabling airplane mode prevents your phone from connecting to your provider’s cell network. You won’t use any data in airplane mode.
What Does Airplane Mode Do for Games?
If you love playing games on your phone but hate the ads, airplane mode can help. Because it disables all internet connections, enabling airplane mode will hide ads in mobile games.
However, this won’t work for games that are always online, so you’ll have to give it a try with your favorites.
Do Alarms Work in Airplane Mode?
Yes, alarms will sound as normal, even in airplane mode. They don’t rely on any kind of internet connection. Open the Clock app on your device and switch to the Alarms tab to set your alarm as normal.
Does Snapchat Work in Airplane Mode?
No. Because Snapchat relies on an internet connection, it won’t work at all in airplane mode.
Can You Receive Calls and Texts in Airplane Mode?
No, because your phone has no connection to cellular service. If someone calls you and your phone is in airplane mode, they’ll reach your voicemail as if your phone was turned off. You’ll see texts that you received when in airplane mode once you disable it.
How to Listen to Music on Airplane Mode
Since you don’t have an internet connection in airplane mode, music streaming apps like Spotify, Google Play Music, and similar won’t work. This means you have two options for listening to music in airplane mode.
First, if you subscribe to the paid versions of these services, like Spotify Premium or YouTube Music Premium, you can download music to your mobile device. This lets you listen to it even in airplane mode.
We’ve answered some of the most common questions about airplane mode on your phone or laptop. In short, it lets you shut off all wireless activity on your device, which is required on some flights and handy even on the ground.