One of the more enjoyable moments I’ve had while flying was on a trip out of Boston to London via Virgin Atlantic. They tend to have a younger flight crew than most and being of that younger generation myself, it was easy enough to strike up a conversation with a couple of the crew about their job. Mostly I was curious what kind of pay they were receiving as well as the perks, which can vary depending on the airline, and I was pleasantly surprised when I not only found myself in a conversation about the benefits of being on the crew for that particular airline, but then spent the next two hours wandering around the plane talking about which restaurants in various cities were worth the time, where to get a cheap but great steak, which wines were the best, and of course, which hotels to stay away from. If you are not short with your budget then private charter flights should be your first priority as you travel in any of airlines. These flights are full of comfort and would really make your traveling comfortable.
A lot of people find it difficult to strike up a conversation with a total stranger. With these handy starters you will not only find yourself a bolder, more open-minded individual, but also wiser in the ways of food, transportation, hotel accomidations, and who knows what else!
First of all, picture yourself as an adventurer. Even if you are a regular traveler with thousands of miles under your belt but find yourself wary or even timid of approaching strangers, don’t be! You’d be surprised how many people out there are not only bored during their flight but are feeling just the same way you are: a little wary and perhaps even nervous regarding the individual sitting on either side of them. Once you break the ice, it’s all downhill from there. Think of this as your opportunity to learn something about the world you didn’t know before.
One of the more frustrating things about traveling can be delays, especially if you are doing international travel. Sometimes a delay of only thirty minutes can mean the difference in a quick transfer, or waiting several hours, sometimes even overnight, for the next flight. Asking the person next to you on the plane if they are transferring or if it’s their final destination can lead to a variety of topics. If you happen to know the destination, you can easily give a referral to hotels, restaurants, rental services, and the quickest way out of the airport. Even if you don’t, it’s the perfect opportunity to talk about that one time you got stranded in Vienna for 48 hours after a snow storm and ended up meeting a National Geographic photo-journalist who took the time to go over his upcoming article with you, before it was even ready for publication. Or you can ask if they know the way to your next transfer if you aren’t familiar with the airport itself.
Security lines are sometimes the most exasperating part of the journey. Often times people will find themselves feeling nervous or concerned about having their belongings rifled through. A few quality jokes are the perfect stress-relievers for these lines of people, and once you get a couple of people chuckling, it only grows from there. For example, on my way back from Amsterdam to Denver one of the security women told me I had been randomly selected for additional screening. I grinned and told her “Ah, come on! You know the real reason you are pulling me aside is you know what a great time I had during my layover and just want to make sure I didn’t try and bring the good times home!” She ended up laughing and I got a far quicker scan than some of the other people undergoing that additional screening. Another time I had a security officer ask me if I was offended if they ran their hands under my waistband during a screening. Knowing how most people feel extremely nervous when asked to undress during a screening I ended up asking a few of the people in the line next to me if they minded a free exotic dance. It got more than a dozen people laughing and helped thaw the ice for a lot of people in line.
The in-house magazines once you are in the air are also a great way to start a conversation with the people around you. Asking questions about the wine, snacks, or general merchandise can often times find you a quick conversant who might end up knowing far more than you had anticipated about a particular subject, leaving you not only wiser, but having found a way to pass the time as well. Don’t be afraid to make light of stressful situations. It not only helps you lower your stress level, but also helps people laugh. And laughter really is the best medicine and the easiest way to start a conversation with a total stranger