How to deal effectively with these 10 passenger types
Do you face anxiety just before your trip? Anxiety, because you have fear of unknown? How would I reach the airport? Would I be able to board without big lineups? Would I be able to get a good seat? What kind of food and on-board entertainment should I expect? Is the plane newer or older model? How to tackle engine noise? What happens if I missed my connection? What to do if my plane is in turbulence?
The list of concerns goes on an on until you board the flight. But wait, I forgot to write the biggest concern even experienced by travelers like me, can have on regular basis just before the trip.
What to expect from my next seat neighbor? Over the years, I’ve had neighbors that are good, bad and ugly. Some very nice and some very mean. Let me share my experience with you. I am a strong believer of SAR. S is situation, A is action and R is result. My passenger types will all have a SAR. Let’s start with the best type of passenger, and that is:
Passenger like me.
You definitely need to sit next to me. Guess why? Because I am nice and caring and don’t bother my neighbor and don’t recline my seat without throwing a warning to passenger seated behind me. I like to talk but not to the extent that you decide to ignore me. Why would you not sit next to a passenger like me?
Let me share my strategy with you to build rapport? Did you know I carry a lot of wipes with me? And I always share them with my seat buddy of the flight. Some accept it and some don’t. I try to build rapport from the beginning and it makes trip fun for both or all 3 of us (in a 3 seating configuration). As they say actions speak louder than words and sharing wipes is the beginning. Offering a small thing can have big impact on your overall flight experience. It is a good start. This gesture can indicate, what’s to expect during the flight?
As a result of small gesture, I make my strategy for rest of the flight. If I get a lots of smiles and gratitude feeling, I am at ease. Because chances are there will be no botheration at all during the flight. If the seat mate is being considerate and showing respect to others, that’s the best passenger in my opinion. I do not expect any concern over reclining seats and other issue.
A talking passenger
You sit next to a mouthpiece, who wants to talk. And you are not a talker like him/her. So you act as if you are busy or not interested but this mouthpiece doesn’t stop. Even after you play a movie, completely ignore him and put on your head phones, he/she still tries to talk to you. And at times he/she is too loud that embarrasses you.
Without showing your facial expressions, telling them you feel irritated, do what they are good at? Talk to them and while talking, make them realize you feel tired or the plane is showing your favorite movie. Or make up an excuse that the movie they are playing is you can’t wait to watch because it was on your to watch later list until now. Don’t forget here, your facial expressions should not blow your story away. Because you will sit next to this person for some time.
As a result, this person should mind his/her own business (provided they have mind). It could be possible that half the battle is won because their urge to talk is increasing. In that case be ready with another excuse, but in a nice way. I am sure couple of excuses in polite voice will send the right message and you will be able to enjoy the flight. However if you are a talker, reading this will help you understand others thinking and feeling.
You love home made food so much you decided not to eat airline offered food
When you paid a hefty amount for your ticket and the airline is providing you free food, why would you like to bring your own home-made hand packed food? This food is probably best tasting food in the world, but for you. For me it is smelly and I am unable to bear the smell. Suddenly the flight (which is always fun for me) becomes torture for me and obviously for others. Since there is no fresh air inside a lot of others might think, god knows for how long this smell will stay in the cabin? What would you do?
Don’t do what I really want to do? No no, I won’t hit that passenger and open the window and throw the food outside. Not going to happen. I will simply change my seat (as my natural reaction). But that would not end this smelly saga. What if they have 2nd round of food for later? I will simply recommend them to eat the airlines food at a time when a Flight Attendant is passing by. Do you know why? Because it could be smelly for them too. And if I am defusing the smelly B**B, the airlines staff may help me so that others don’t have to live with the smell and they can rest in peaceful environment.
This action should bring solid results, however if it doesn’t, God help you. I have not come across this problem on my next seat, however in my cabin yes, The FA asked the passenger to sit in the last seat and eat. Obviously very politely by the airlines staff. The staff explained how this passenger would feel if someone ate their smelly food next to them. Don’t get me wrong, food doesn’t smell, however for some passengers it does. Try smelling butter chicken curry and I bet you would love it. However some will not like the smell. You got my point?
Tall John or Jane Doe (taller than 6 feet)
You sit next to a tall passenger, who after all tries can’t contain his/her legs in their own court. Now they wish to slowly encroach your seating area. Constantly changing sides to make themselves comfortable and not getting anywhere besides disturbing you. Unfortunately the flight is full, which means you need to put up with this passenger, whether you like it or not?
I will have no problem in standing in the aisle for some time and offer them to stretch their legs in the area owned by me. This will increase my blood flow and give me some exercise. Hopefully the 10 minutes or so was enough for John to stretch and now you can return to your seat. At the same time joke with John to talk to the Flight Attendants about changing your seat. This joke can insert words into John’s mouth and he may talk to the FA’s to see if a better seat is available?
You’ve done enough for John. This should make John happy that you are caring and he/she should not encroach in your area, now that you’ve given him enough opportunity to stretch. But if he/she still continues to do the same, you should have an open and honest conversation. If he/she is tall, it is not a good enough reason for him/her to mess up your trip by encroaching into your area. You’ve paid same or sometimes more than others to own that little place of land called “your designated seat” until your arrive at the destination. This should make him/her understand, that their height is not your problem. And he/she should leave you alone to have a good flight. In addition to this, you can always invite airlines staff in the discussion.
The Elbow encroacher
I made this rule. It is not a written rule. The arm rest on your left side belongs to you (if you sit on right side of the plane). Don’t try to become owner of right side arm rest. But if you sit on the left side of the plane, the arm rest on your right side belongs to you. You should leave the left side arm rest for others. While traveling you notice your seat mate is an arm rest encroacher and he/she is not willing to give up your arm rest to you.
Don’t fight. It can increase problems. You know what I would do? I would simply tell that person, I have bad allergy on my left elbow. He should not touch me unless he wants to share piece of allergy pie with me? This should do the trick. Do this on your own risk. If you are off loaded from a flight due to this prank, don’t blame us, don’t hold us liable. Try this on your own risk. But this person may not care at all. If that is the case, have an open and honest discussion with him/her to explain your point of view. You can always involve the airlines staff, but use them as your last resort.
You are trying to sleep and engine noise is troubling you. And you can’t do anything about it and suddenly you hear another loud noise which sounds like engine but it is not the engine. Oh what the…..It’s your neighbor snoring and snoring loudly. Sam is sleeping and it is against your principles to wake someone up. What would you do?
You decide what you want to do? I had to wake someone up because he was not only loud, he had the habit of shaking his legs while snoring. Which affected not only me but the passengers all around him. It was felt like turbulence around us only. Picture this, you are sleeping and suddenly your partner not only starts to snore but also shakes his whole body. It’s like sleeping tsunami. LOL.
Waking this passenger up should do the trick as it did for me, I should rather say all of us around him. Because he affected a lot of passengers surrounding him. Be nice, because it could be a medical problem too. At the same time you don’t want to punish him, by not letting him sleep.
our seat mate is a seat boxer, expert in kicking the front seat
This is unique, in the sense that seat mate wants more space but doesn’t need it. For example a 5 ft tall passenger banging on the seat in the front. I know, it doesn’t affect you directly, however indirectly it may disturb you.
If the rapport is already built, then you can politely start a conversation about not hitting the front seat. If there is no rapport, you can still start a conversation, because you are indirectly affected. Passengers in front might think you are together. Which means you get free embarrassment. Last thing you want is to associate with an unknown person due to their unacceptable behavior.
You can expect 2 results, either seat boxing stops or it doesn’t. Let’s just expect the worst outcome. What options do you have? Stay quite and mind your own business while the banging music is on? Still try to pacify the situation? Confront him/her, although this will make things worse. The front seat is empty, therefore nobody cares but you do, due to indirect effect on where you sit? I would recommend re-assess the situation and work out a plan that is a win – win situation for both of you, even if it means, you have to change the seat.
Group of loud talkers
In my opinion this is very common theme, specially when you are traveling with Asians. Sorry, I am not racist, but I find Asians including my country people have the habit of talking in native language and too loudly. Making others uncomfortable, disturbed, not happy with the situation as they are already dealing with engine noise and this noise is getting louder. Sorry to increase your problems, these passengers don’t even speak English. How worst can it get?
Depending upon where they sit, you can nicely gesture to them to talk slowly or don’t talk at all. This should do the trick. I have found over years of traveling majority of loud talkers completely stop when someone gestures to them they are too loud. You may find occasionally a few that won’t stop. However couple of gestures should do the trick.
The best result is no loud talking. Specially where there is a group it becomes too loud. During long haul flights, when it’s time to sleep, loud noise becomes punishment. If you are one of loud talkers, be careful.
You own the toilet
This is another unusual one. I was traveling from Calgary to Amsterdam in an overnight flight. There was a passenger who troubled others by staying in toilet for long times. It was really bad during morning time when everyone wanted to use the toilet to feel relieved. However this passenger didn’t care and owned the toilet. It felt like he booked the toilet suite and came to seat when nature called him. This passenger was even noticed by the Flight Attendants.
This situation is not something you can handle. If you sit next to this passenger don’t let him exit. BTW I am just joking. It is not an open road where you can run and pass this passenger to use toilet before he/she reaches toilet.
There is no end result for this. I don’t think you can do anything here at all. So leave it as it is and hope for the best. Sorry, I can’t help.
Global warming contributor
This is humorous one. I have not seen any articles on this one. But I have sat with someone who had the problem of f***ing. And very bad smell. If you know planes schematics, you know there is no fresh air. You can’t open windows for ventilation purposes. And you can’t sit with this person to avoid the smell. What can you do?
When I faced this problem, I joked with the global warmer, “oh man you need Ginger ale”. Sharing my wipes worked here, because I was able to create rapport in the beginning and felt I could talk freely with him. The Ginger Ale remark made him realize that this is his problem not others. Why to penalize others because he has bad stomach or another problem? And he did not repeat himself for next 6 hours during the flight.
You can deal with this problem when it comes to you. However be ready, because it can happen to anyone. I know about this because it happened to me, although only once. Therefore, based on my experience I can say it happens. This is fragile problem, so handle it with care.
I just noted 10 types however there are way more than 10 types of passenger. All I can say is advance preparation is the key. I mentioned earlier, I am always happy to travel and it excites me. Even when I think of sitting next to these 10 types of passengers. What can I and can’t do to have an enjoyable flight is the question I always have?
If you have encountered any of these passenger types, please share your experience by leaving a comment: