Imagine this: You step onto an airplane and begin navigating your way down the aisle towards your seat, dragging your suitcase behind you. You’re excited to be leaving for vacation or heading home from a work trip. But then, as your eyes land on your seat, you see them — your seatmates. And before you even sit down, you can already tell: This is not going to be a fun flight.
We’ve all had this experience, and it’s pretty awful. Since most of us can’t charter a private jet whenever we want to, let’s try something else instead — being the best seatmate we can be instead of worrying about others. Here are a few ways you can make your seatmates love you.
Be a Nice Person
This should be a no-brainer, but sadly, it’s often overlooked. As you travel, simply be nice to everyone you meet, seatmates and non-seatmates alike. Treat them as you’d like to be treated. A genuine smile goes a long way towards brightening someone’s day, even if you’re never going to see them again. Don’t be afraid to be a little kinder and a little more patient than necessary — even if you haven’t even taxied to the runway yet and your seatmates are already driving you crazy.
Take Your Cues From Them
Does your seatmate want to tell you their whole life story and hear yours in return? If you're in the mood, why not oblige them. Are they wearing headphones with their eyes shut and haven’t even introduced themselves? Do the same. If your seatmate wants to talk, talk, but if they seem to be fine as they are, don’t force conversation.
Share Your Stuff
If you have any extra space in your carry-on, stuff it full of things people tend to need on airplanes (examples: books, magazines, a coloring book and crayons, air sickness medicine, etc.). Throughout the flight, if your seat mate or anyone else arounds you seems to be in need of something you have, offer to share it. This is one of the quickest ways to make new friends, strike up a conversation and help everyone enjoy the flight. For instance, if you give a crying toddler a coloring book that instantly calms him down, the entire plane will thank you.
Practice Common Courtesy
Observe the basic rules of politeness we all hopefully learned in kindergarten — things like using headphones, limiting your trips to the bathroom (unless you’re in an aisle seat), and eating quietly if you have to eat at all. No one wants to hear your music, and no one wants to constantly stand up so you can get out, and no one wants to listen to you eat. They just don’t.
Don’t Use Scents
Lotion. Aftershave. Cologne. These scents are stronger than you think. Many people simply don’t care to smell them, but other people might have serious allergies and be unable to stand the scent. You have two choices here — either don’t wear any extra scents at all on the day of your flight or bring along a lotion that’s completely unscented.
Stay in Your Space
If you’re in an aisle seat, don’t put your feet on the armrest in front of you. The last thing the person in front of you wants to see when they look down is your foot — and now they can’t use their armrest. Speaking of armrests, your seatmates will be much more likely to love you if you don’t hog the ones in your row. They’ll also be much happier if you’re in the window seat and close the screen, especially if one of them is trying to sleep or watch a movie.
Finally, don’t snore. Please. Enough said.