First choice for me would be "nobody": A vacant middle seat is always appreciated in Economy Class.
When flying longhaul in Business Class I have no preference as long as the person next to me does not interfere with my privacy unwantedly.
Occasions in which I have had an intense chit-chat (or deeper discussions) onboard an airplane with a total stranger are very limited (this excludes anything less than 5 minutes of talk).
I recall one flight on a UAX CRJ OAK-LAX which was completely filled with a discussion with my neighbour (was about vacation and flying)
Another flight that saw quite some discussion & story telling (again: vacation & flying) was on a LH B744 in Business Class flying FRA-LAX (different occasion than above) when my neighbour in the window seat was a frequent flyer, this time on his way to connect to a NZ flight to AKL, IIRC.
On flights to PMI, I rather regularly encounter some chit-chat with pax next to me, who most often are older (55+) travellers due to the fact that I (39y) ply this route mainly in winter.
Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
Thepilot From Canada, joined Jan 2010, 5 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2336 times:
Empty is never bad, but see my trip report SEA-SMF-PHX-SEA On AS/HP With Tons Of Pictures! (by Thepilot Feb 21 2007 in Trip Reports) to find most men's favorite seat mate (hint, a blonde flight attendant). For me though, from SEA-MSP not too long ago, I was next to a deadheading 752 captain going to DTW next. We talked for the whole time about airplane systems and flight stories. It was a wonderful flight. I feel bad for my mother, who was between us though
On a long flight when there is not a pilot, someone very small, so I have my entire seat to myself. Flew once SEA-LHR in the middle seat between a 285 pounder and a 265 pounder. Talk about
TSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 2870 posts, RR: 5 Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2262 times:
Some very good answers here! I posted this thread just before leaving for work and I was afraid it might have sank like a stone.
In my relatively limited flying experience, I've found guys older than myself (I'm 40) kind of grim and focused on...well, things other than chatting with fellow passengers.
I've also found that to initiate any conversation at all with a woman younger than me is to have her assume I'm trying to hit on her, which is never my intention.
Guys that are younger than me are okay to sit next to, and are generally happy to talk about whatever interests we might have in common.
But my favorite people to have next to me on a flight are (drumroll please): Mature women, preferably someone's grandmother. They don't automatically think I'm trying to pick them up because I say "Hello", they appreciate good manners and don't get offended when I call them "Ma'am", and they're almost always happy to be going wherever they're headed and they're more than willing to tell me all about it. On a flight with no IFE and clouds obscuring everything outside the window, a chatty grandmother can be a godsend.
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KstateinALB From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 732 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2232 times:
I'd say nobody. But I feel that if there is an empty middle seat next to you, the person on the other side always seems happier when you chat with them. It must really be how much room you have that makes people want to talk more.
ERJ135 From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 670 posts, RR: 1 Reply 9, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2206 times:
Of all the times that I flew alone and had a window seat of a pair (32 times) I've had 17 people next to me and 15 empty seats. Of the memorable co flyers was a very large man who lifted the center arm rest just to fit his butt in the chair without splitting the thing in half. I speant the Twenty minutes pressed up against the side of the aircraft and missed the snack because the crew was unaware anyone else was sitting there.
On Kuwait Airways I had a young boy about 8 years old playing games all night he also asked a lot of questions about my country.
On Air New Zealand I thought I had a dream come true with a very pretty young lady settle in next to me, I quietly thanked god, and then she spoke, and that trap didn't stop talking about fishing, fishing rods, reels, lines, favourite spots, boats, lures and even bait. After three hours I actually got up and went to the rear of the aircraft and asked an FA if there was somewhere else I could sit, down with the luggage or a deck chair out on the wing Anything please!
No I have to say Empty please.
I did sit next to a 10 (?) year old on one flight who had the first PlayStation Portable I'd ever seen in person, and he was only too happy to demonstrate it's many features to me...after which he gave me a sound thrashing in every game we played on it. Despite my unpardonable losses, that was kind of cool.
On the flip side, I sat next to guy who bent his head in murmured prayer the second we pulled away from the gate at DFW and didn't stop or look up until we pulled up to the gate at BHM. That was one loooong hour-and-a-half flight.
However, the "Please Don't Let This Happen To Me Again" award goes to a 30-ish and (to my eyes) very ordinary looking woman who sat down next to me and immediately put up the Cone Of Silence. I have to give credit to her though...she had raised exuding waves of "Don't even think of speaking to me!" to an art form in which she was highly proficient.
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