The 7 Types of People You’ll Sit Next to on Flights
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
You’ve seen them.
Whether you’ve flown three times in your life or 30 legs in the past year alone, you’ve likely come across seat mates of all stripes. Something about flying can bring out the best (or sometimes worst) in people. When you’re strapped to a seat 30,000 feet in the air, quirky habits are bound to surface. How many of these fellow passengers do you recognize?
1. The Honeymooners
You don’t have to be flying to Hawaii to spot lovebirds. These are the couples who barely notice there’s a third wheel sitting next to them. But sometimes this can work out in the extra seat mate’s favor: Because neither person needs personal space, they’ll cozy up next to each other, granting plenty of extra room in the row. As long as they don’t engage in heavy PDA, you’re in the clear. Plus, everything’s amazing! The little baby booze bottles? Amazing! Puffy clouds? Amazing! You can’t help but admire their enthusiasm for life before you shove in your earplugs.
2. The Prolific Reader
These typically older folks tap that overhead light while the plane’s still taxiing. They’ve got four dog-eared hardcovers in their carry-on. They barely look up during beverage service. Diehard bookworms love using every second of their inflight time to soak up the latest bestseller or impressive opus (or speed-read fashion magazines). Sure, a Kindle might make an appearance, but usually these avid bibliophiles prefer paperback. You know, for the smell.
3. The Tech Tyke
Mom’s got her house white, Junior’s got his iPad and everyone’s happy. While parents usually monitor their kids’ entertainment consumption on the ground, everything goes out the window on a flight longer than two hours. Video games, TV marathons, the billionth rewatch of Frozen? Go for it, sweetheart! These tech-obsessed youngsters might amaze you with their digital savviness — peek over their tiny shoulders and you’ll discover the most addictive games popular right now. Just don’t ask to play yourself. They’re not into sharing.
4. The Don’t-You-Dare-Mess-With-Me Pro
Say hi to the dude who drinks his whiskey and puts on an eye mask before takeoff. Or, actually, don’t. He’s not here to make friends. But he is on a first-name basis with the flight attendants, who know not to wake him for any reason. Ever. His lie-flat business-class seat is more familiar than his own bed at home and despite falling asleep instantly and snoring across the ocean, he somehow rouses himself three minutes before landing. This guy’s all business, baby.
5. The Chatterbox
If someone makes direct eye contact and smiles as you squeeze into your aisle seat, congratulations! You found a chatterbox who is here to make friends. They want to know all about your final destination, where you’re coming from, how long you’ve lived wherever you’ve lived, are you dating anyone right now and hey, did you want to split the cheese plate? Maligned by most people who prefer flying to be a hermetic experience, the jibber-jabberers don’t mean any harm. They’re just very, very friendly.
6. The Worker Bee
Miraculously, her tray table manages to hold a laptop, two cups of black coffee, two cell phones and a hundred-page spreadsheet. Often fixed with a glassy stare, she’s determined to maximize every minute of in-flight productivity while maniacally counting down the seconds until she can turn off Airplane Mode. Who needs a WeWork space when you can treat an airplane cabin like your own personal corner office? (Warning: She will not appreciate sitting next to The Chatterbox.)
7. The Flight Virgin
How to spot this rare creature in the wild: They fumble with the seatbelt (Which end goes into where?). They make liberal use of the service button (When will lunch be served?). They even look up and down the aisle for the bathroom (How does the door lock?!). When the plane hits a patch of turbulence, they grip the seat rests and yelp, “Oh my god, we’re gonna die!” Resist rolling your eyes and be kind to the newbies. They’re just nervous — and remember, you were a virgin once too.
Illustrations by Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees