Why I gave up inflight 'binge viewing'

Why I gave up inflight 'binge viewing'

TALKING POINT | Let me tell you a secret. I used to love binge viewing on flights. All those hours of uninterrupted time were ideal for immersing myself into a favourite TV series.

My first inflight binge-session was on a Qantas flight to San Francisco in 2006 – long before iPads and before the term binge-viewing was even coined – when I spent every waking hour of the flight glued to Aaron Sorkin's superlative Sports Night.

An addictive precursor to The West WingSports Night ran for just two widely-acclaimed seasons totalling 45 highly-crafted half-hour episodes – all of which I loaded onto my laptop.

This unique comedy-drama hybrid – complete with Sorkin's scripting gymnastics and characteristic verbal tics – had me from the get-go, and kept me on the "just one more episode!" treadmill not just during the flight but in my hotel, in the early hours of the next few mornings when jetlag sees you wide awake at 2am.

Yes, I was my own worst enemy – and I paid for that indulgence during the day.

But I didn't quite learn my lesson, and for years following I'd often queue up entire seasons of a new show and save them for the flight – and all too often with a similar result.

When I became a full-time 'business traveller', that had to stop – or at least I had to discipline myself to a handful of episodes so that I'm not tempted to break my routine and short-change myself on sleep.

(In case you're wondering – yes, I subscribe to Foxtel and Netflix, but for anything more than one episode of a must-watch show I prefer to use the downtime of travel than night-time on the couch.)

So what's my new inflight video option? I still prefer the 'BYO Content' model, preloading my laptop or tablet with video rather than rely on the movies and TV shows of the airline's own system.

These days I scout around for some engaging documentary shows, or rewatch a favourite movie but with the commentary track from the director and actors (so  on next week's Virgin Australia inaugural flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong, I'll be the guy in business class watching La La Land on his laptop).

This gives me content that's fresh and enjoyable, but with a defined end-point when both my laptop and myself can power down.

What's your approach to inflight video: do you watch a movie, take in a few episodes of a favourite TV series, or get stuck into an entire season from the moment the flight takes off?

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

19 comments

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    29 Jun, 2017 08:40 am

    Preloaded content on the iPad is the way to go, but the problem is I've watched everything I want to watch?
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    29 Jun, 2017 09:10 am

    There are always amazing series being recommended to me, series I've never heard of but find to be first-rate viewing. We should start a thread in the Community section!
    No member give thanks

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    29 Jun, 2017 10:54 am

    Sounds like a good idea, there are a lot of good shows on HULU etc that us in OZ don't know about.
     
    No member give thanks

  • Fqtv

    Zac

    29 Jun, 2017 08:52 am

    Preloaded TV series on my iPad is a fave. I use the airline's IFE for movies, and it's great when they also have series 1 of new or older hit TV series so I can try something new (which if it's good I'll end up buying and load into my iPad)...
    No member give thanks

  • Yvan J Drake

    MRYJDrake

    29 Jun, 2017 09:52 am

    Podcasts! 

    I like to always be learning. The Dollop, Stuff You Should know, a whole bunch of other educational ones, and then there's the comedy ones as well. 

    When I get sick of those: Music and a book. 

    I'm that guy you walk past who's perpetually got the AirShow on his screen
    No member give thanks

  • tazza0712

    tazza0712

    29 Jun, 2017 10:49 am

    I love to get into a series as opposed to watching a movie. The shorter, sharper story lines keep me glued and the hours just while away. Unfortunately, it seems as though there are only ever several episodes of any one series loaded onto IFE systems and not nearly enough to keep me going. 

    Will have to learn to be more prepared and BYO content in future, I think. 

    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    29 Jun, 2017 11:16 am

    I have BA to thank for getting me hooked on The Walking Dead.
    No member give thanks

  • Dave

    Grannular

    29 Jun, 2017 12:37 pm

    I am a lover of the Air Crash Investigation series and found myself watching a couple episodes on the plane once, before realising how horrified the people around me were. oops
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • eminere

    eminere

    29 Jun, 2017 12:45 pm

    LOL!
    No member give thanks

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    29 Jun, 2017 01:27 pm

    Sometime when you get those real arrogant painful  people seating next to you and thats when you start explaining how the plane crashes. It's like when your on a cruise ship and you start talking about the amount of people in the freezer.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • TheFreqFlyer

    TheFreqFlyer

    5 Oct, 2017 09:01 pm

    I'm a fan of those too. Your experience sums up why I would never consider watching my own movies/shows on a plane but instead use the inflight entertainment system hence why I disagree with the author. First of all, a plane isn't a bus - getting rid of inflight entertainment (except on low-cost carriers and very short flights of less than 1.5 hours flying time) downgrades the whole flying experience and turns it into another bus ride. Making the assumption that everyone has an iPad (I don't BTW) is the first fatal mistake that airlines considering getting rid of this and then continuing to charge the same or more for a seat make. Secondly is the issue of privacy - as you said, people around you noticed that you were watching ACI and were in your words "horrified". I don't want people to know what I'm watching - it's OK if it's part of an airlines' entertainment system as everyone has access to that, but to have a stranger intrude into the privacy of what's on my laptop (or iPad) is just too much. I don't think it's too much to wait until you've arrived at your destination to wait to watch your favourite shows. Much better than having all those uncomfortable prying eyes.
    No member give thanks

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    6 Oct, 2017 08:44 am

    In a busy life that most of us have these days, any free time is good time to watch or do something you enjoy.
    No member give thanks

  • Lachlan Burnet

    Lachlan72

    29 Jun, 2017 06:40 pm

    For me, the IFE stays permanently on the moving map, and I immerse myself in my e-reader. I much prefer reading books to watching videos on flights, and reading makes it much easier to nod off as well. 
    No member give thanks

  • Frank

    Frank

    3 Jul, 2017 05:33 am

    You and me both..
    No member give thanks

  • BevanMcBevan

    BevanMcBevan

    30 Jun, 2017 03:09 pm

    Bravo David. Me? I'm all routine and discipline. I board into the incoming time zone and work my way from there. Sleep & Non-Stop H20. Land with a clear head and hit the ground running.
    No member give thanks

  • Hugh McCann

    Hugh McCann

    30 Jun, 2017 03:54 pm

    May and June same me travel more domestically than I ever had before. I ran out completely of anything I was interested in watching on in-flight entertainment on both Qantas and Virgin. I concur that flights are now for me a great time to catch up on podcasts. I just finished S-town. That was a great bindge listen. 
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • Jonathan Ventham

    jventham

    30 Jun, 2017 05:24 pm

    I watch my 12" retina MacBook for either 1x movie or a read.
    after that, I take my eldest son's advice - half a valium, washed down with a double JD, then I sleep the sleep of the innocent for the rest of the way …
    No member give thanks

  • Hugh McGarry

    Journeyman

    30 Jun, 2017 07:20 pm

    I prefer to catch up on reading. Remember that?
    No member give thanks

  • Flying Fish

    AWA2602

    30 Jun, 2017 10:46 pm

    On long haul flights, the most I manage is 1.5 movies from the IFE catalogue, a few chapters of my book and a quick catch up on the latest news and current affairs from my destination. My focus is on getting into my destination time zone as quickly as possible and getting as much sleep as possible. 
    No member give thanks

Guest

26 May, 2019 11:26 pm

×
×

Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.

×

Resend activation email

If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.

×