The 8 Types of People You’ll Meet on a Plane

It doesn’t matter if you’re catching an interstate early-bird flight, or jet setting halfway around the globe, there are a few types of people you can usually expect to meet on your plane. Some will make your flight more enjoyable, while others will leave you counting down the seconds until you can flee the aircraft as soon as possible.

We’ll be profiling these common personality types and offering some travel hacks on how to help you meet new people and ensure your flight is as smooth as possible. So get your travel journal and pen ready to take some notes.

We’re kicking off with:

1. The first-time flyer

We all have to start somewhere, right? Some people handle their first flight better than others, however, so if you’re sitting next to a sweating, twitching, shrieking individual, you’re likely in for a rough flight. Instead of reciting plane crash statistics at this poor soul, try to ease their anxiety by distracting them with conversation.

This way, you get to meet new people who are heading to the same destination as you, and you won’t have to listen to your seat buddy scream every time turbulence hits. Win-win.

2. The young family ft. baby

Cruising through the sky at 40,000 feet with a bunch of strangers can be challenging enough, let alone when one of those strangers is a small child with a big set of lungs. Sure, babies may be cute as buttons on the ground – but they certainly don’t make good flyers.

One of our travel hacks for avoiding crying infants on your next flight is to choose a seat far from the partitions or ‘bulkheads’ on the plane. These spaces are usually the only seats that offer enough space for parents to secure their baby’s bassinet – thus, they’re the noisiest! You’re welcome.

The young family ft. baby

3. The oversized bag holder

You know the type. They usually come marching down the aisle of the plane and thump everyone on their head with their unnecessarily large bag. Or they insist on keeping their oversized carry on wedged under the seats or on their laps, taking up your precious space.

Instead of passive aggressively writing in your travel journal, speak up and ask the person to politely move their bag to the overhead compartments.

4. The business traveller

This plane personality needs no introduction. Typically in first, or business class, the business traveller is likely overworked and overtired. While they’re likely not looking to meet new people on their business trip, striking up a friendly conversation might just brighten up their jet-lagged, work-fuelled trip.

5. The make-yourself-at-home traveller

Everyone wants to feel comfortable on their flight, but not to the point where you’re making everyone else uncomfortable. If your seat buddy is spread out across half your seat, using your shoulder as a pillow, or has removed their shoes to release an unpleasant odour, it’s okay to speak up.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, an easy travel hack to remember is subtly finding a flight attendant and getting them to be the bad guy. When it comes to foot B.O, you’re doing the entire cabin a favour, really.

6. The overly friendly flyer

Have you ever found yourself just wanting to read your book or write in your travel journal on the plane, but the person next to you wants to be your best friend? Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to meet new people, but sometimes you just need some you-time – especially on an early morning flight.

If your seat buddy’s energy is at an 11, but you’re barely scraping a 4, an age-old travel hack is to roll out the fake sleep routine. Politely tell the overly friendly flyer it’s been a “very long day” and you’re “just going to grab some shut eye before your next stop”. Include some headphones and a sleep mask for good measure and you’re essentially off-limits for any future enthusiastic conversations.

The overly friendly flyer

7. The gamer

For some hardcore gamers, just the thought of going more than two hours without playing a video game is too much to bear. This means, if you’re caught next to one on an overnight flight, you’ll likely have to contend with the artificial glow of their handheld gaming device as you try to sleep.

The really obnoxious gamer might even go so far as to leave their device's volume switched on. If you’d rather not deal with a stream of beeps, buzzes and dings throughout your flight, kindly remind the gamer that their device does in fact have a silent option and they should probably use it before they have it taken away from them.

8. The lovebirds

It’s easy to feel like the third wheel when the couple in the two seats next to you are all over each other and taking public displays of affection to all new heights. There’s a time and place for being lovey-dovey after all, and a crowded airplane is not one of those places.

Travel tips for managing the lovebirds on your next flight include investing in noise-cancelling headphones and learning the ability to induce sleep on command. Failing that, you can always become the over friendly flyer and engage the couple in incessant conversation until they pretend to fall asleep. Problem solved.

You’re bound to meet some interesting characters on your next flight, so remember to be open minded and friendly and you never know, you might just meet your next travel buddy for your upcoming adventure.