In-Flight Entertainment: Games Airline Passengers Play

Posted by - July 31, 2011 | Category: Peculiarities


In an age where airlines are charging for extra bags, extra luggage, and even extra legroom, I’m pretty sure the days of onboard slot machines and keno are only a short time away.  Customers can while away the hours and play casino games, and airlines can help make ends meet. 

It’s a win for everyone.

Until that day though, passengers are left to create their own in-flight entertainment.  Here are some of the ones I’ve witnessed…

Skip to My Loo

Richard Simmons Dancing in the Aisle

Named because it’s usually performed en route to the toilet, this is also known as the Potty Prance, or the Doo Doo Dosey Doe. This game involves precision, balance, and timing as you navigate your way past passengers milling about in the lavatory queue.

Tips for Winning:

  • Like a true “dosado” this game should be played back to back, or bum to bum. Crotch to crotch or, even worse, crotch to bum is grounds for an air marshal to intervene.
  • Keep an eye on the lavatory light, and make a beeline when the aisle is free from obstacles.

Armrest Arm Wrestling

Airline Passenger Getting Elbowed

Laying claim to the armrest early is paramount; otherwise, be prepared for an extended session of elbow jousting for the duration of your flight.  Etiquette would see you alternating ownership 50/50, but this is no gentleman’s sport – it’s every man, woman, and needy child for themselves.

Tips for Winning:

  • Board early to stake your claim.
  • Recline your seat, and come from behind with your elbow to force your opponent out. LifeHacker shows you how.
  • Get a window seat.  If you have to pee, since everyone has to get up upon your return, you are the first one to sit back down. You win by default.

Overhead Tetris


This game involves deftly placing your carry-on baggage in the overhead bin in the most efficient way possible.  It’s easy to tell the pros with this one.  They have the perfect-fitting piece of luggage, they have finely tuned spatial and depth perception, and they hoist, push, and place with ease – like a finely rehearsed dance.

The amateurs?  Well, they tend to carry-on more than they check-in, have bags that look like something a hobo abandoned, and set up camp in the aisle while they figure out how to even open the overhead.  Like any sport, the amateurs are a lot more entertaining to watch though.

Tips for Winning:

  • Board early while there is still plenty of overhead room.
  • Those safety videos do not lie – put heavier items under the seat in front of you.

Crop Dusting

plane passenger 2

Historically performed by males in flight, this silent but deadly game involves slowly and quietly breaking wind down the aisle.  Again, timing is key.  Release too quickly, and you run the risk of discovery with your audible abominable.  Too slowly and you may just run out of runway and be forced to backtrack through your own filth. It’s a game of rectal roulette.

Tips for Winning:

  • Toot in the toilet and everyone wins. Except the next person in line of course.

I’d like to hear from you — have you witnessed or played any in-flight games recently?

Did you win or were you solely a spectator?

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46 comments - add one
  1. Okay, we just flew Air New Zealand a few days ago for the first time and saw that in-flight video you have above w/ Richard Simmons! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard on an airplane before… major points to ANZ for that. Also, we played every single one of these games on that flight.*

    *Just kidding.

    1. I saw it on YouTube and it was pretty darn funny.

      I know you didn’t play EVERY game — you definitely wouldn’t arm wrestle each other… 🙂

    1. I scour the web looking for the most ridiculous ones I can find…

      I will only concede the armrest when there is a middle seat — I figure the poor sod has suffered enough… ;0

  2. Rectal roulette – like it. I don’t find the overhead bin amateurs entertaining though – I feel as close to murderous as I get watching stand back up and get something from the bin for the THIRD time while other passengers have to wait….

    1. Yeah they can get on your nerves for sure. It’s like they think they are in standing in front of their fridge at home or something — they completely forget there are other people around…

  3. Clever! And the photos you chose are great 🙂 Arm rest wrestling is a sport I could probably enjoy. But I’d rather enjoy the flight, so if that situation comes up, I just keep my hand in my lap rather than duking it out with my seatmate 😉

  4. These are hilarious!! I’ve played the arm wrestling game but the rest of these are new to me. With flights these days, doubt there is any room for Tetris any more!

  5. Great photos, the one of the kid took me by surprise. The sumo wrester/arm wrestler feels familar. It drives me nuts when seat mates can’t realize we are each entitled to an armrest. I’ve gotten tough about it over the years.

  6. haha! I’m a champ at armrest wrestling. One of my fave things to do is give up the armrest and then a few minutes later, take it over again mwahahahaha
    The only time I ever lost was when I was sitting next to an extremely obese person. I wasn’t about to wrestle my elbow into their stomach.

  7. A corollary to crop dusting is roto-tilling, wherein one twists back and forth in the seat and squeaks one out. Not that I’ve done that…


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