10 Entertaining Apps for Long Flights

Tablet App Recommendations

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Traveling for the holidays? Our holiday travel typically involves a long 13+ hours in the air, so I'm always on the look out for a few apps to help us enjoy our journey. Because wi-fi on international flights is fairly limited, none of the apps I've gathered require internet access. Happy perusing and safe holiday travels!

TOP ROW

1. Spirits (iPad & Android): This game is one of my favorites for long flights because it's challenging, yet also calming. The goal is to navigate adorable white spirits home through obstacles. Although there are some seriously challenging levels, the beautiful imagery and soothing soundtrack make it a great pick for a potentially stress-raising journey. $4.99 & $2.99
2. Plants vs Zombies 2 (iOS & Android): Hugely addictive, but with quick levels, Plants vs Zombies 2 is ideal for a long trip during where there may be frequent interruptions and concentration disturbances. Because each level is fairly short, passing drink carts have yet to ruin a game. Free
3. World of Goo HD (iOS & Android): Another beautifully rendered title with high entertainment value, the goal here is to build various structures to complete the levels. This game is one of my favorites to play in the plane cabin because of the creative challenge and also because it plays well under low light, making it a good pick for when the cabin lights have been dimmed. $4.99
4. Card Games (iOS): I'm not sure if I'm just absent-minded or I have poor luck, but it seems whenever I travel with a deck of cards, I lose at least one. Since I've grown tired of losing playing cards, I now solely stick to playing solitaire card games on my tablet, better suited for the tiny tray tables on planes. Free
5. SpellTower (iOS & Android): An addictive word puzzle game that can be described as a combination between Boggle and Tetris. SpellTower makes this list due to it being sufficiently challenging and interesting enough to melt away the hours with (and it looks snazzy too). $1.99

BOTTOM ROW

6. Art Puzzles 2 (iOS): I might be in the minority here, but I find doing jigsaw puzzles to be incredibly relaxing. Sadly, the confined space of a plane's cabin and occasional turbulence makes a real jigsaw puzzle during a flight a no-go, so I do the next best thing and use this app. Free
7. National Geographic World Atlas (iOS & Windows 8): Perusing an atlas is an excellent way to pass the time, and this National Geographic app is both entertaining and educational, offering users a way to learn a bit more about your destination while en route. $1.99
8. iFiles (iOS): This app is designed to help users get files onto and off the iPad for use at home or during travel. Admittedly, most of the documents I work with are accessible via the cloud, but when it comes to needing to get something saved onto my iPad, iFiles is the way I make it happen. $3.99
9. Paper (iPad): I like to doodle on the plane, and since the tiny napkins are well, tiny, and I want to limit what I carry onto the plane, sketching with Paper works better as my doodle canvas. Free
10. Zen Space (iPad): When a seat-mate is really causing a bit of stress and unpleasantness, I break out this app and turn up the white noise on my headphones. I find Zen Space's "virtual space of tranquility" (complete with simulated Japanese sand and rock garden to manipulate) to be a soothing escape while onboard a loud uncomfortable flight. Free

All of these apps have proven valued travel companions for passing the time during long flights (alongside a real book or watching a movie or TV show onboard), but I hope that you find them a delightful way to pass the time in the air.

What apps do you use while in flight?

(Image credits: l i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock)