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How to Start a Conversation on a Plane

Emil Arleroth

Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! You’ve boarded your flight and now you’re about to either a) fly across countries to reach your holiday destination or b) fly to your new Erasmus city. Your phone is updated with your favourite podcasts and the latest songs. That book you’ve been trying to read for the last half year is packed down in the seat pocket in front of you.

While you may have all the distractions in the world in your possession, sometimes it’s much better to socialise with the passenger next to you. Look to your right, look to your left. What interesting person do you have next to you? Is it a nice old lady, a loud mouthed family, an incredible cutie, or maybe another Erasmus student just like you? How to start a conversation in a non-creepy and totally awkward way?

Read through this list and upgrade your plane social skills to the next level. Be brave and be the one to strike a conversation first!

Hello!

It doesn’t have to be harder than this. You’d be surprised at how many people take their surroundings for granted and forget to sometimes look others in the eyes and acknowledge their existence. Just say hello, or hi, or howdy, if you’re a cowboy. Whatever you’re most comfortable with to make the world a tiny bit more friendly. Sometimes, all you need to say is hello and a new friendship might take off!

What music are you listening to?

Many of us travellers like to have a soundtrack in our ears that spice up the boring flight. Sometimes the volume escapes the headphones of your neighbour and into your ears. Is that The Shins? Drake? “No way! You listen to the same obscure indie band as I do!” You just need to tell them how much you love that band and how you saw them last summer at this awesome music festival — this conversation starter is a hit or miss.

Either the traveller next to you will be happy to talk about music with you, or they will turn the volume up and feel offended that you interrupted them. Regardless, no harm done!

What are you reading? 

As you understand, this starter has the same effect as the previous one about music, with the exception that the other person will most probably hear you. Maybe you will disturb their peace, but maybe that’s alright because what if they would love to tell you more about the book that they’re reading? If the reader doesn’t want to continue talking, you can always reach for the flight magazine and browse through the menu and tax free perfumes.

Where are you going?

Ok, so you think this is a no-brainer, but actually you cannot possibly know for sure if the flight destination is the final destination of your neighbour. It could be a transfer destination where they get on another plane to a far away land. Who knows? Ask and get to know what adventures lie ahead of your travel partner.

Offer some snacks

There is something incredibly sweet about people offering snacks, tissues and whatnots to their fellow travellers. An act of kindness which cannot possibly be taken in a bad way. Be kind and give the person next to you your last piece of gum. This is the modern times take on the old saying, “are you a friend or a foe?”.


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Do you know other ways of starting a conversation on a plane? Let us know in the comments. Now that you have the apps all you need is a room, so remember: if you need student accommodation, you’ll find the perfect student home on Uniplaces.

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