iPad: the perfect in-flight companion for long haul travelers
I left Paris 10 hours ago and I am 2 hours away from Singapore as I start drafting this post on my iPad. Usually a great sleeper on any short and long distance flight, the 12 noon departure time of Singapore Airlines SQ 333 flight from Paris to Singapore made it difficult to actually get more than 2 hours of sleep so far, leaving me more than 10 hours to experience and enjoy the Apple iPad as a flight companion. Read more to find out 7 work and leisure activities (and apps) that the iPad turns out to be the perfect match for while traveling on a long haul flight.
- Watching TV series: Singapore Airlines KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system is great and has a tremendous choice of movies, but the iPad beautiful 9″ display is just perfect for catching up with the latest episodes of your favorite TV show.
- Reading the news: I am yet to be convinced about reading e-books on the iPad and still believe that real ink and paper is less straining on the eyes in the dim atmosphere of the cabin. However, going through over 200 unread articles from my Google Reader RSS feeds was a no brainer thanks to Newsrack (make sure to synchronize your feeds before taking off).
- Playing Games: from casual games such as Solitaire or Sudoku to great sports and racing games such as “Let’s Golf HD”, “Real Racing HD” or “Real Soccer HD”, the iPad happened to be the perfect portable gaming console to kill time on such a long sleepless flight.
- Clearing your inbox: struggling with hundreds of unread emails in your inbox? Why not take an hour or two to finally delete those unwanted newsletters, reply to that long overdue message and send quick follow-up notes to your new clients and prospects you met during your trip. No connection is required, messages in the outbox will be sent upon arrival.
- Preparing your expense report: Numbers (iWork) might not be as feature rich as Microsoft Excel but it certainly fulfills the goal of collecting all your receipts to ensure timely reimbursement of your many dinners and taxi fares.
- Reviewing your presentation slides: It’s definitely more efficient to prepare slides directly on your Mac or PC with a fullfledge version of Keynote or Powerpoint. But if you only need to rehearse, spell check or rearrange a few slides, there again running Keynote on your iPad will help you deliver a quality sales pitch upon arrival.
- Checking the progress of your flight: I bought “Flighttrack Pro” a few days ago and used it before departure to check the status (delays, departure terminal, etc.). I was however happily surprised to see that it was actually “updating” our position in real time during the flight (see attached screenshot). Don’t get me wrong, there is no Internet connection or GPS positioning involved. It only estimates your position based on the departure, arrival and current time. If you departed on time or updated your flight status just before taking off, it is good enough to take a peak at where you probably are as well as your remaining time before arrival.
- Showing it off to the flight stewardess: that one might not last very long as I expect more and more frequent travelers to carry their iPad on board in the future. But less than 2 weeks after its launch in the US, you should expect cabin crews to stop by your seat (they just did) while you’re working or playing off your slate.
Conclusion: apart from that last extra point, some of you might think that you could already to all of the above with your existing laptop computer. Well, I will be landing in less than an hour and have more than 40% battery life left whereas most laptops might actually only allow you to do one, not all, of the above. Finally, having the iPad instantly turn on and off as well as its reduced size and weight truly make it the perfect work and leisure companion for such long haul flights.