Are people in the emergency exit row of a plane more likely to talk to each other since they are forced to open their mouths to give the flight attendant verbal affirmation that they will comply with federal regulations in the event of an emergency landing?
I’ve had the most amazing conversations with strangers on planes, so I frequently think about what can make it easier to get strangers to talk. Because that’s always the hardest part…getting your foot in the door. I overthink it completely, but it always surprises me how willing people are to talk (if they aren’t trying to finish a final or work project…and even if they are:) once you can get out of your own head.
From Zurich to San Francisco: I couldn’t stand the idea of sitting in such close proximity to someone for a whole 12 hours without at least attempting conversation so I asked a benign question to break the ice, “Do you have enough room with my bag here?” To my delight, he answered “yes” and then stuck out his hand to introduce himself, opening the floodgates. We talked about his job working at Google, the future of tech and its impact on kids, Dubai, fact-checking, and how celebrities should refrain from making political statements. When we’d had enough of talking for the time being, he watched Get Out and I watched Moonlight and we debriefed them with each other afterwards. He had an intelligent opinion on pretty much any topic, but also was curious about my opinions. Saying goodbye at the baggage claim was sad because I knew I’d probably never see him again in this world of 7.6 billion. But I know I’ll always remember our conversation.
Some conversations on planes can and do extend beyond the plane. Here is a story about that: