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7 Conversation Starters On a Plane

Smart traveler - improving your social awareness skills and listening to other’s life experiences as a solo traveler or travel companionRegardless whether you are assisting a senior traveler as their travel companion or traveling on your own, this is an opportunity for improving your social awareness skills and listening to the life experiences of others.  Here are my seven conversation starters.

1. “Good morning, I am Sam”
Be honest, boarding is stressful time.  You are wondering if there is enough room in the overhead bins.  The isle is jammed up because someone slowed down to stuff oversized items to the overhead bin.  Everyone looks tense.  When you reach your seat, try to brighten the day with a simple greeting to your seat mates “Good morning/afternoon/evening!”

2. “Pardon me, I would like to go to the bathroom”
If you are seated away from the aisle, ask nicely when you need to go to the bathroom.  Then pay attention to their response.  That is an important temperature test.  If they show grumpiness then don’t try to chat with them.  If they kindly stand up to give you space to get to the aisle then you are starting on the right foot.  Show your gratitude as you get out and prepare to warm up the connection on return.

3. “If you are done with the newspaper, could I borrow it?”
If your seatmate has finished reading their newspaper or magazine, ask if you can borrow it.  You can start the conversation with a current news headline.  Try open-ended statements to avoid Yes and No response.  Pay attention to the response, smile or nod your head occasionally.  This is not about getting agreement on the opinions, rather it is to acknowledge “I heard you”.  You may hear interesting points of view which will expand your horizons.

4. “Do you have any suggestions for Must-See attractions at our destination?”
Unless you are flying back to your hometown, asking for suggestions for must-see attractions at the destination is always helpful.  You may hear a more personal view of the attraction rather than the usual guidebook version.  For example, your seatmate may describe their favorite hiking place with beautiful panorama view.

5. “I really enjoyed my time in Chicago, how about you?”
Make this chat into an interactive dialog to offer your experiences from your departure location.  You may hear about some wonderful spots that you had missed.  You can file these away for your next trip.

6. “Would you like another portion of fruit salad?”
On my last flight, I sat next to a student returning from summer study in Australia.  He was happy to eat the extra fruit salad from my meal.  Offering to share is a kindness that is welcomed by everyone.  There is nothing wrong if your seatmate declines the offer, it is the thought that counts.

7. “What do you think about the food in New York City?”
Food, cultural events, etc. are great way to start a conversation.  Do not be discouraged if you did not hit on their favorite subject immediately.  Listen to their response, you most likely arrive at a topic that both of you enjoy.

Traveling with TripCompanion community is a great way to start a holiday.  Fly confident!

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