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In-Flight Conversation: How To Make Friends On The Plane

Fri, 10/21/2016
Talk to a Stranger on the Plane

Whether travelling alone or with company, the plane, bus, train or boat journey is a great place to meet people. It’s the time when you’re most likely to be up close and personal with strangers, and neither of you can easily leave then cabin, unless you fancy hiding in the toilet or a parachute jump from 30,000ft.

We might not always be in the mood to talk to strangers, and can often feel a little unnerved when people we don't know make conversation with us, but in fact a little chat is the best way to make the time go by, make new friends around the world and can even be an amazing way to improve your trip. After all, your neighbour could be flying home whilst you’re flying to your destination, so you could take advantage of getting some good tips from a local. One of our team here in the Get Paid When Delayed office gave us the low-down on an overnight flight from London to New York she took four years ago, where she ended up having a 5 hour long conversation with a New Yorker and landed herself a tour from a local, with free lunch included!

The problem most of us have when meeting new people is the all important ice breaker, but talking to your neighbour isn’t as hard as we tell ourselves. Just follow these tips and you’ll have a new best friend in no time!

Our favourite airplane conversation starter:

“Where are you going?” or “Where are you coming from?”
Always a good place to start. This is the most simple and least invasive of ice breakers, but it can lead to a whole bunch of further conversation topics; destination, connections, job, family visits, holidays and many more. It may be that you’ve come from the same place, or you might have been to their destination before and be able to offer advice. If you haven’t been to either of the places they mention, there is also further material to probe, ask them what it was like, or why they went there. Another good question along the same lines is “How long are you going to be in [flight destination] for?”.

Here are some other in-flight conversation starters that have been suggested today around the Get Paid When Delayed office:

“How’s your food?”
This one has been tried and tested on many a restaurant date, and here at the office, we agree that it’s a good start to any conversation.

“Excuse me, do you mind if I get past? I need the toilet”
We’re not convinced of this one, but at the very least you’ll probably get a smile and right of passage.

“If you could have any superpower what would it be?”
This one’s great if you’re sitting next a 10 year old, but may come across a little random if you’re sat next to a 60 year old Spanish lady.

“The last flight I was on..”
Tell a funny story! But don’t make it too long, you may bore your neighbour before you've even taken off.

“Did you know..”
Share some of your knowledge about flying which you’ve picked up from reading our blogs at Get Paid When Delayed. Might be best to leave out any scary or bad stories though...

To have a pleasant conversation on the airplane remember these 3 things:

1. Offer your ear. It’s amazing how much people open up when you give the gift of a willing ear, and listening to new people can be the most fascinating and rewarding of experiences.

2. Be willing to share and open up too. If you show your own vulnerability and openness your neighbour will warm to you and the conversation will keep flowing.

3. Don’t be too keen to keep in touch, you’ll come off too strong and ruin the experience for the other person. Accept the fact that an airplane conversation is short-lived.

If you’ve been delayed, denied boarding or your flight has been cancelled, it’s likely there’ll be other passengers in the same boat. Perhaps they don’t know about EU Regulation 261/2004, so let them know that they could be entitled to up to €600 in compensation and that Get Paid When Delayed is here to help. We’re a free website aiding you to understand and start your claim. Unlike other online claims websites, we never charge a commission, so you get to keep 100% of your compensation.