Plane Productivity

Post Date:January 28, 2020

As airline seats get smaller, I noticed something that really made flying even less desirable.

My inability to open and use my laptop on a flight.

In most cases, it barely fits on the tray, or it cannot be opened completely. Trying to type is almost impossible, as there is not enough distance to get my arms in the right place to do so. This meant getting any work done was unlikely. 

I started using my older iPad Air on flights, as it is certainly small enough to use on a tray and allowed me to do a lot of what I needed to get done. The downside was the iPad keyboard, which is ok for typing some of the time, but not nearly as fast as a full keyboard. 

Enter the iPad Pro with the Apple Keyboard Case. 

The iPad Pro and Keyboard Case combo feels more like working on my MacBook Pro — but with the smaller footprint, it fits on any airline tray. With this setup I am able to churn out a lot of work on any flight. I have also found the new iPad OS finally gives the iPad the much-needed differences it deserved, treating the larger screen as not just an iPhone with more space. 

I had a portable Bluetooth keyboard which I used with my iPad Air 2, but the experience of using the keyboard case iPad Pro and iPad OS has really replaced my laptop experience for many tasks. My goal going forward is to replace my Mac in as many situations as possible. Certainly client meetings, flights and many travel situations where I hate dragging my laptop around will be replaced with the iPad Pro and new iPad OS. 

Besides the keyboard and OS, the new ability to plug into external storage is a game-changer. File management on the iPad has always been lousy, where everything was so isolated and seemed inaccessible. Plugging in an external drive for the first time and opening up MS Word, Excel and even iMovie was really cool. 

I even found a good Remote Desktop app that I am using to connect to my Mac remotely, enabling me to access items only available on my Mac. On a recent trip to a customer, I left the MacBook Pro at home and only traveled with the iPad Pro. This saved me 5lbs and a lot of bulk, which matters when you are slugging bags around the airport or a city. 

The gap between trying to be productive and actually getting stuff done on those long flights just closed significantly. With all my newfound productivity, I should be able to start flying First Class — but even with the bigger seat, I'll stick to using the iPad Pro on the flight.