8 Best Tech Accessories for a Better Flight

Don’t head to the airport without these travel accessories, gadgets, and apps

Nena Farrell
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Smarter Suitcase

Don’t just pack your belongings in any old suitcase. Get a powered suitcase, like Away’s, that has a removable battery (required by airlines) that you can use to charge your smartphone while you wait at the gate. The sleek hardshell case makes it a style statement while keeping your belongings safe and sound for the trip.
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Airline App

Who are you flying? Make sure you download their app in advance in case they have special features available. Even if you don’t pay for WiFi, the airline’s own app is usually free to use on board on airlines like United and Southwest, so you can access on-demand TV shows, movies, and more during your time in the air.
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Quality Headphones

If the engine noise of an airplane or the background noise of traveling in close proximity to dozens of other people drives you to distraction, make sure to grab some good sound cancelling headphones, like the Bose QuietComfort 25. However, if you don’t truly need the soundproofing feature, focus on a solid pair of regular headphones, like the Sony Diaphragm. Noise-cancelling headphones don’t always have as strong sound quality as non-soundproof, but usually cost extra, so only splurge if you’ll really use it.
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In-Flight Entertainment

  • Netflix App; free to download on iOS and Android (required Netflix subscription)
Netflix and Amazon Prime Video both offer the ability to download films and shows that you can then watch offline. Take advantage of it before your next flight — especially if it’s long or if it’s on a budget airline that doesn’t offer robust in-flight entertainment. Not everything can be downloaded, so do your homework in advance, and don’t risk waiting to use the airport WiFi to add your in-the-air binge lineup to your iPad.
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Long-Lasting Battery

Whether you’ve got a long flight that might not have any in-seat chargers or you don’t have a smart suitcase, bring a portable battery pack to make sure your phone doesn’t die before you land (and need to order an Uber or find directions). The Anker PowerCore can refill the average phone battery twice, making it great for long trips.
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Mini Library

  • Overdrive app; free to download on iOS and Android (requires library card for local library)
Looking for something to read? The Overdrive app can connect to dozens of libraries using your library card number and pin, enabling you to borrow ebook copies of the next novel you’re waiting to read. You can then download your ebook loans to your Kindle or other ereading device. You’ll instantly have a variety of reading material for the flight and potentially for your entire trip--eloans are for three weeks, the same standard library book loan period. Again, do your homework in advance to see what’s available, as buzzworthy and popular books can have a waiting list. Or try Overdrive’s sister app, Libby, to get access to ebooks and audiobooks too, and soon magazines.
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WiFi-Free Gaming

Many games use WiFi and data while you play, but some don’t. Grab a few WiFi-free games to entertain you, like Dots, ZigZag, and Angry Birds.
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A Bigger View

Instead of downloading all your apps, Netflix entertainment, and Overdrive ebook loans onto your smartphone, remember your tablet. Playing, viewing, and reading are enjoyable on a larger screen. The 4th generation iPad, with a 9.7 inch screen and Retina display, is a great size to hold like a book or prop up for movie time.