As travel resumes, what’s on your in-flight watch list?

International travel is back, overall. Long 8-12 hour flights are on the way, along with epic journeys of around 16 hours – and, in the next few years, the 18-20 hour marathons of Qantas non-stop flights to London and New York. LINK

And as airlines add the latest movies to the big screen alongside TV box sets on the in-flight entertainment system, the “BYO content” option seems to be growing in popularity with travelers.

Charge up your laptop or tablet, put on your noise-cancelling headphones, and catch up on some shows you missed during the work week — especially new series or recent episodes that often demand a commitment your home schedule can’t. not equal.

It’s an increasingly rare slice of time to enjoy yourself while disconnected from the world below. But like everything else in life, moderation is key.

Why I gave up in-flight binge-viewing

Allow me to share a secret with you. I used to to like excessive viewing on flights.

All those hours of uninterrupted time were ideal for immersing myself in a favorite TV series.

My first in-flight binge session was on a Qantas flight to San Francisco in 2006 – long before iPads and before the term “overwatch” was even coined – when I spent every waking hour from flight glued to the superlative of Aaron Sorkin sports evening.

An addictive precursor The west wing, sports evening only lasted two widely acclaimed seasons totaling 45 highly crafted half-hour episodes – all of which I loaded onto my laptop.

If you liked The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night is almost a must-watch: don’t try to watch all 45 episodes!

This unique comedy-drama hybrid – complete with Sorkin’s screenplay gymnastics, signature verbal tics and more than a few actors, plots, lines of dialogue and even episode titles recycled for The west wing – got me right off the bat and kept me on the “just one more episode!” treadmill for most of the flight and in my hotel in the early hours of the next few mornings when jet lag wakes you up at 2am.

Yes, I was my own worst enemy – and I paid for this indulgence on working days.

But I haven’t quite learned my lesson, and for the years since I’ve often queued entire seasons of a new show and saved them for theft, too often with an equally sad result the next day.

Once I became a full-time business traveler it had to stop – or rather, I had to discipline myself and cut the binge-fest down to a handful of episodes so I wouldn’t be tempted to break my routine and make mistakes. on sleep.

(In case you’re wondering – yes, I subscribe to some streaming services, but in many cases I’d rather do my viewing during the downtime of travel than at night on the couch.)

How I learned to love in-flight binge-viewing again

Instead of risky over-watching, my “plan B” was to keep an eye out for gripping documentary shows or rewatch a favorite movie but with the director and cast commentary track.

These provide fresh and enjoyable content, with the benefit of a set endpoint when my laptop and I can turn off.

But then we entered the era of “peak television,” where networks and streaming services began releasing dozens of quality television shows in generally shorter seasons of six to ten episodes. well designed.

This makes it easier to indulge in a binge-fest at 30,000 feet and immerse yourself in a great series with less risk of “just one more episode”.

On the author's flight watch list – Borgen: Power & Glory.

On the author’s flight watch list – Borgen: Power & Glory.

Some of my personal in-flight viewings are still episodic in nature – I love the latest Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – but there are older series that I discover just now, such as the thrilling British crime drama series Unforgettablewhich brings together so many great actors and writers in a series of six episodes.

The end of each episode pulls you like a magnet into the next, and that pull grows stronger as you approach the final episode, but six episodes of 45 minutes each are quite manageable on most overseas flights. sea.

Later this month, I’ll be lining up for the fourth season of the just-released Danish political drama. Borgenwith eight episodes to take me from Sydney to Helsinki to Singapore.

After that, the options are endless and I’m more than open to recommendations. What is the next step your in-flight viewing list?


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