How To & How Not To Make Friends While Flying

Airports and airplanes present quite the perplexing social quandary: it is difficult to meet people and somehow also difficult to escape others while flying.


Sometimes I find myself desperately racking my brain for an excuse to strike up a conversation with [cute] fellow travelers with exotic passports. Other times, I silently wish that the man next to me would allow me to read Pride and Prejudice in peace. Here I present some tips on how to gracefully navigate the airborne social scene.

How to Make Friends:

Plan A: Find the nearest outlet and plug in your phone. Many airports have charging stations equipped with outlets. This is a great place to meet people because travelers are forced to baby-sit their devices in a communal area. Try starting up a conversation with a remark about how thankful you are to find a charging station, or perhaps compliment another traveler’s device. If your target doesn’t take the bait, try inquiring about which flight they are taking. If he or she still doesn’t seem interested, move on. You don’t want to be a nuisance.

Plan B: If you are already in the air, your best bet to meeting people is to interact with the people in your row. Ask if the plane’s destination is their final destination, if they are traveling for business or pleasure, and if they are frequent travelers. I’ve found that these simple conversation starters can yield amazing stories.

How to Keep to Yourself:

Plan A: Sleep. This method has stood the test of time as an incredibly effective means of avoiding conversations.

Plan B: Carry a book with you. It is not necessary that you actually read said book. However to successfully avoid social interaction, it is crucial that you periodically turn the pages to give the illusion that you are reading. Ingenious, huh? If someone tries to lure you into a conversation while you have your book in hand insist that it is imperative that you finish the book before landing.

Enjoy the ride!

Sofia John

After living in Costa Rica for quite some time, Sofia developed a travel style that is "expect nothing, embrace everything." She loves Spain. When she travels, she can't live without...clean socks.

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