7 Tricks to Getting Work Done on an Airplane

2. Be realistic about what you can do

to-do list

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If you’re stuck in economy, working on your laptop may be frustrating at best or impossible at worst. Copy a move from small-business adviser and frequent traveler Marla Tabaka, who plans to work on tasks she can accomplish on a tablet or even a notepad when flying in cramped conditions. A flight is also a good time to catch up on work-related reading or the latest business bestseller your boss keeps mentioning.

3. Don’t automatically opt for Wi-Fi

WiFi still isn’t universal on U.S. planes, and even when it’s an option, only 6.7% of passengers pay for the service. Still, if you have the option to go online while in flight, you may jump at the chance, assuming it will make you more productive. But that may not be the case. For some travelers, an uninterrupted block of time is a golden opportunity to think about more complex projects or brainstorm solutions to nagging problems. Spring for Wi-Fi and you may fritter away your hours in the air on Facebook.

4. Stay hydrated

Cabin humidity levels are significantly lower than average indoor humidity, which means dehydration is a common problem when flying. Not only does a lack of water make you feel gross, but it can make it harder to get work done, since dehydration “contributes to fatigue and poor performance,” according to business travel expert Jayne McAllister. Do yourself a favor and sip plenty of H2O (and pass on the booze) if you hope to finish up that PowerPoint presentation before you land.

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