"Are we there yet?" It's not children making the plaintive plea, but my legs, some 10 hours into a flight where they – and the rest of me – are sandwiched into economy.
On almost any other flight my legs wouldn't be asking the question. If this was a hop to Singapore or Hong Kong I'd already have checked into my hotel and may even be back out on the street.
Tablets are the ideal piece of travel tech, especially for long flights.
But I'm on the Qantas flight from Sydney to Dallas (well, Dallas Fort Worth if you want to be accurate) and there's still more than five hours to go before we touch down in the city of large hats.
This is one of the longest flights in the world, and it feels even longer in economy – especially when you don't score a seat with extra legroom.
But business travellers are increasingly having to make international treks down the back of the bus, thanks to the belt-tightening impact of the GFC.
So how do you survive the long haul in the cheap seats?
Paper vs pixels
Reading material is one obvious answer, although on this particular Qantas flight the overhead reading lights aren't working so books, magazines and my Kindle are rendered all but useless.
Tablet-toting travellers fare better, so I'm glad of my habit to 'double up' with an iPad.
Tablets really are the ideal piece of travel tech. They've got longer battery life than laptops and fit better on the smallest tray table – even when the person in front of you reclines their seat.
Loading up the tablet with a slew of movies or TV shows remains the best survival plan for long haul flights.
That's also where a decent in-flight entertainment system comes to the fore, as long as you pack your own noise-cancelling headphones. (Which I do. Always. Every frequent flyer should).
It's often said that starving yourself of visits to the cinema in the weeks before a flight means you can pass the time catching up on the latest-release movies.
Tablets have also made gaming an ideal inflight past-time, from racing cars around a virtual track to the endless battle of Plants vs Zombies.
But even then there's only so much watching the screen, or reading, that your eyes can take.
Sleep and seats
While I don't advocate treating the drinks service like your personal bottomless minibar, a glass or two should help cosy you into the land of nod.
I also pack mild sleeping tablets such as Melatonin to help change my sleeping pattern to match the timezone I'll be heading into.
You don't want any heavy-duty tablets that'll knock you out for six hours straight and still leave you groggy at the end.
Even the location of your seat plays into this. As much as I'm a window kinda guy, I prefer an aisle seat for the longest trips.
This lets me stow my laptop bag in the overhead bin and keep the space around my feet free, while still having quick access to my carry-on as needed.
The obvious downside is that you'll have to get up and down when your seatmates want to visit the loo. But I use those visits as additional opportunities to go for a stroll and stretch my legs.
Of course, seatmate interruptions also put the kibosh on getting a decent sleep.
Another way to maximise your personal space is to empty the seat pocket. I pull out the in-flight magazine, duty free catalogue and everything else, and toss them in the overhead bin.
That provides a little more space for books, tablets, headphones, reading glasses and anything else you might want within easy reach while cutting down on clutter around your seat (and the chance of leaving something behind).
What are your tips and strategies for passing the time on the longest flights?
David Flynn is a business travel expert and editor of Australian Business Traveller.