The only thing that makes getting the middle seat on a long flight worse is the realization that the article you were reading has refreshed on your device, promising hours of Internet-less boredom. A long flight can be an entertaining experience with the right apps; they can transform a boring seven-hour journey into an afternoon of good reading, brainstorming, productivity or entertainment. Download these free apps before you're off on your next trip to avoid begging the flight tracker to get you there faster.
Words in the sky
The Offline Reader app allows you to download articles you've been waiting to read or links related to research you're working on and save them for in-flight reading. This also is a great app to save hotel webpages or travel article links that won't refresh when you don't have Internet access. Available for free on Apple.
A different kind of pilot
Popular TV shows offer free or 99-cent downloads of their pilot episodes. If you've been waiting to start watching Girls or want to catch the first episode of The Newsroom, head to the Video app already available on your Apple device and download them before you board a flight. It's a great way to keep busy during a flight. Available for free on Apple.
Did you know you can download a free podcast to keep you entertained during a flight? Download a talk on your favorite subject or learn how to say '"more wine, please" in Spanish on your way to Argentina. The Podcast app has an army of content to conquer boredom, from audio books and investment tips to pointers on things to do in Honolulu and how to plan the perfect Tuscan picnic. Available for free on Apple.
TED is where great minds brimming with curiosity meet. TED Talks are an incredible way to learn about new ideas in an engaging audio or video format. Learn how body language can shape how you present yourself in a meeting or why Chef Dan Barber fell in love with a fish. The app lets users download talks for offline viewing and promises exciting new revelations about the world around us. Available for free on Apple and Android.
You've got mail
Catch up on e-mails or send family and friends updates about your trip by having access to e-mail offline. The Gmail Offline app downloads e-mail when you have an Internet connection and will automatically send e-mails you respond to in-flight, when you connect to Wi-Fi again. This beta Gmail app is currently available only on Chrome, can be downloaded on a laptop and is a huge productivity booster. Available for free on Chrome
What's in your pocket?
The Pocket app takes offline content a step further, allowing users to save articles, photos and Tweets to their virtual pocket. E-mail yourself links you want to save for reading later or browse tweets that inspired you. The app also lets users adjust brightness and text size making for a more comfortable in-flight reading experience. Available for free on Apple and Android.
Say hello to your thoughts
Flights have few distractions and are a great place to brainstorm ideas or simply let creativity flow. Download Paper by Fifty Three and let your fingers twirl with ideas. Those looking for a more structured format also can use Pages to make notes, write the first chapter of a book or simply clear their mind. Available for free on Apple.