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Do you speak to people on a plane?

Following the huge success of our first little sociology experiment here is my second question: Do you speak to people on a plane?

I travel alone most of the time so I always sit next to a complete stranger (no, I never get the good looking girls, it's always the old men or an elderly married couple) but still, even though I'd say I could be counted amongst the frequent flyers I've never engaged in any kind of meaningful conversation with anyone on a plane, even though they're sat next to you for two hours or more.

While many good stories start with: I spoke to this guy I sat next to on an airplane (fight club?) I couldn't tell you one of those.

What about you guys?:hehe:


  • Up front I tend only to speak with the bright young thing with the Chablis.
  • So far I have not travelled alone so I've only talked with the people I was with. I wish I had talked to the guy sitting next to me the last time I was coming home from Indy, as we were leaving the plane I noticed him and a couple other guys nearby me had Michelin reversable jackets and were speaking French. Good chance they worked for Michelin but missed my chance to talk to someone on the inside of F1.

    I know my dad talked to a guy next to him on a plane coming from El Paso, TX an it turned out the guy was leading the same unit he had lead back in the day.
  • usually i don't, i try to sleep. But I've known some interesting people on a plane. Once going from london to milan I was sitting between a couple of gays (italo-english), they were very nice and funny, and a gorgeous jordanian girl, simply beautiful. That was a weird trip.
  • Can't say I had any meaningful chats, but I do remember flying from Hawaii to LA and the plane was empty.

    I was hopful of getting a row to myself and sleeping all the way. Until this guy said hi and being polite we had a brief conversation. Which then made him feel that he could sit next to me for the entire plane ride. I got no sleep. And no meaningful chat. I haven't spoke to anyone on a aplne since.
  • I always, always end up talking to my neighbors. You can meet some interesting people. Last flight home from Texas I sat next to PC magazine editor. Had an interesting chat.
  • If you don't want to talk to them............
    Maybe, tell them your a Gynacologist and try and shake their hand?
  • It all depends on the journey, the traveller, and the potential companion.

    I do around 25 round trips Melbourne to Sydney each year and like all the other suits, wouldn't dream of trying to converse. It's a one and a quarter hour bus ride that has to be endured alone.

    On the other hand, travelling from Oz to Europe, or the US pretty much mandates some sort of contact with the neighbours since they are 24 and 14 hour trips. Mind you, there was this trip that the then brand new Mrs Lease and I did in '95 in the very back (smoking) row of a KLM jumbo. We were in the middle so it was us, a space, and then this late thirtyish woman on the end. As soon as she sat down, she closed her eyes, and only openned them during the meal services. We didn't exchange a single syllable all the way to Amsterdam. Seemed quite weird at the time.
  • My daughter (on her 8th Birthday) spoke to the guy next to her who turned out to be head of a unit at NASA. He gave her a medallion made of the Space Shuttle material, and I finished up visiting NASA and later giving a paper and talkat Houston.

    The NASA connections helped forge a bond (stong enough to withstand both tension and pressure) with a certain Emmet Q (MCSF). So you never know where plane contacts can lead.

    I probably wouldn't talk on the Sydney to Melbourne or London to Aberdeen runs, but have found cultural insights from exchanges in foreign countries.

    Travelling from Delhi to Colombo, Sri Lanka, the charming lady beside me sensed that I wasn't enjoying the Indian music. After she kindly explained some of the intricacies and nuances of the repetitive phrases, the music took on a little more meaning. It also helped me to understand a little better the strange music experienced in other people's countries.

    Memorable encounters: Bob Hawke, Hoges (Crocodile Dundee), a girl friend of one of Australia's tennis stars, a lady I got friendly with who had to introduce me to her husband waiting for her at the terminal (that nearly ended in a jealous punch-up in Bahrain), a Scientology lady who didn't succeed in converting me, oh! and a stewardess.

    Generally I avoid talking to, or shaking hands with, stewards and pursers.

    Now, people you meet in bars! I once met Elvis' drummer and got invited to the next Presley concert.

  • I was on this red eye flight from LA to back east... I had several drinks in the bar. Met a group of 3 married women who had spent a week in Vegas. They where pretty hot and buzzed and rowdy.

    We acually had seats the same row and the plane had like 20 people on board, practically was empty. We talked, laughed, had great conversation. I got up to go to the restroom and when opened the door gues what appeared to my eye! They where all asleep! So guess waht I did! I went to sleep to! (I bet all your dirty minds where just waiting for a Mile High Club story, weren't ya?)
  • just waiting for a Mile High Club story, weren't ya?
    i don't fly enough to make that worthwhile...
  • are you saying you don't "fly" enough or do you really mean you just don't fly on an aeroplane enough?:D
  • Probably shouldn't shake anyone's hand in an airplane, for all you know they could have just become a part of the Mile High Club - Solo Aviator Division.
  • I chat almost always with my neighbour on an airplane. It's a good chance to meet interesting people.
  • Memorable encounters: Bob Hawke, Hoges (Crocodile Dundee), a girl friend of one of Australia's tennis stars, a lady I got friendly with who had to introduce me to her husband waiting for her at the terminal (that nearly ended in a jealous punch-up in Bahrain), a Scientology lady who didn't succeed in converting me, oh! and a stewardess
    Didn't meet 'em in Cattle Class though, did ya
  • All but the first two were in cattle class or the "zoo" as Singapore Airlines terms the cheap section.

    Business Class depends on the person. You don't have to make polite conversaiion as in Economy where you're sharing space and armrests. I respect that other passengers may want privacy and quiet, but if they want to converse a little that's OK too.

    I wouldn't talk to passengers on a British train. Good heavens, No! Although I hear sex is OK as long as you are quiet about it.

  • not to bring ya down but mabe you shoudl think twice before accepting that seat from the stranger:
    Special Report on Fligh 10

    By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Senior Analyst, Military Affairs Expert

    20 December 2005: As the official investigation into the crash of Chalks Ocean Airways flight 101 enters its second day, the bodies of 19 of the 20 passengers who were reportedly aboard the aircraft have been found. In fact, most - if not all - were reportedly still strapped in their seats - including the pilot and co-pilot. And... the plane landed in relatively shallow water after having traveled only a short distance. Rescue workers have been in the water since the plane went down yesterday, engaged in a search and recovery operation - looking for the body of the remaining passenger.

    So, where is the 20th passenger, and why are we asking?

    If you haven't done so already, I would urge you to watch the film (from the CNN website) of the plane crashing into the water, and notice the right wing separate from the fuselage. As recounted in the article below, witnesses reported hearing an explosion, then observed the right wing separate from the fuselage. Now, use the following links to view the basic seating chart for the twin-engine Grumman G-73 Turbo Mallard, and then view a photograph of the interior of the plane.

    Seating Chart

    Interior Photograph

    Note that there are overhead storage bins above the passenger seats in the approximate location where the wing is affixed to the fuselage. Could it be that an onboard explosion, possibly from the contents of a stowed bag, caused the massive structural damage and further caused the wing to separate from the aircraft? Could someone have registered for the flight, placed a bag on board (or in some manner, caused a bag to be taken and stowed on board), but did not board the aircraft? A very thorough investigation will tell the whole story, but before terrorism or criminal activity is summarily dismissed, consider the possibility that the 20th passenger opted not to board the plane - and perhaps remotely detonated an explosive device in the overhead cargo bin as the plane ascended, before it got our of range. As there is no federally mandated screening of parcels for this type of aircraft and in light of the recent threats to airlines, could this have been a test run that exploited the lack of TSA screening?

    It is noteworthy that Captain James Maes of the U.S. Coast Guard said authorities had been unable to account for one of the 20 people believed to be on aboard the aircraft. Perhaps more importantly, it has been reported that among the dead were a mother, Sophia Hinsley-Sherman, and her daughter, Bethany, who took the last available seat after a man offered it to them. Who was this man - and why did he not board the aircraft?

    The Northeast Intelligence Network continues to independently gather and assess the current threats to American aviation and all other assets in the U.S.

    © Copyright Northeast Intelligence Network. Permission to reprint this article in its entirety is granted with proper attribution

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