How Fliers Avoid Friendly Skies

As I was looking at the USA Today in my Salt Lake City hotel room this morning, I came across an interesting little survey. The question was: how do business travelers avoid talking to people on planes? Here are the results:

Start reading                           50%

Listen to music                        38%

Don’t try; enjoy talking          24%

Hate to be rude; will talk        20%

I will admit, I could have answered all of these at one time or another. Mostly I listen to music and read. Once I had to tell someone who didn’t get the music/reading hint (truthfully) that I was losing my voice and had to stop talking.  Sometimes I cave and talk to people anyway. And a few times I have really, truly enjoyed it.

How do you avoid talking to people you don’t want to while traveling?


  1. When I was a kid I made the annual trek, every summer, to Pennsylvania to see my dad. Of course travel was by plane. I always liked to talk to the other travelers, and I even got a pen pal out of it! There were times when I would get the shove off, and I always thought it was incredibly RUDE! I have never forgotten this, and if someone wants to talk I am all over it.

  2. I talk to anyone because I love stories. One time a woman I met on a plane invited me to her house for Christmas to meet her grandchildren. Another woman named “Ace,” asked me for Ryan’s number so she could talk some sense into him (?). Same thing happens to my mom. We just listen to people.

    I think we get too close too fast.

    The Other “HM.”

  3. HM x2 – ya’ll are funny. I would love to be that person meeting you on a plane for the first time. You would be fabulous seat neighbors.

    I’m a headphones and reading kinda gal…b/c I always feel that I don’t read enough as it is so I take advantage on the plane, but I’m often worried I will be “judged” by what I’m reading, so I pick something that hopefully won’t strike up a conversation. (hmmm…I may have some issues to work through!)

    Southwest drink tickets have Conversation Starters on one side, and Stoppers on the other. My favorite:
    Starter – ask your neighbor what is their biggest pet peeve.
    Stopper – start doing their pet peeve.

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