Don't make any of these mistakes (Photo: iStock)
I'm sure we all have a story about a bad experience on a plane. The story often features someone you sat next to. They were horrible, loud, smelly, or even worse...very attractive.
Here are a few types of people I've sat next to:
The very attractive person
Like most people, I find very attractive people intimidating. Whether it's the fact that we've been conditioned to view them as some sort of superior species or not, you find yourself at a constant unease. Or is this just me?
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I recently sat next to a ridiculously attractive man on a small plane (making things almost worst/or better, depends how you see it). We didn't speak a word past the initial "Hello." This was definitely purposely done on my part. I tried to move as little as possible, I didn't get up to go to the bathroom, and continuously thanked my lucky stars that it was only a two hour flight. I mean, sitting next to this man for a long-haul flight would have been more uncomfortable to me than enduring the non-existent leg room.
The one who hogs the armrest
I once sat next to a woman who kept hogging the armrest. I had to make my tall, rather big-boned body so small that, I swear, I could almost fit into a child's size S when I got off that plane.
Worst of all, she kept pressing the buttons on my entertainment system's remote. So restarting my movie every 20 minutes became standard practice.
I don't like talking on a plane. It's not really because my co-passengers are strangers, I just know that if I start engaging, I might run the risk of a long-haul conversation I won't be able to get out of. Because, it's not exactly like I can go anywhere.
The talker often comes in the form of a very nice tannie, who wants to know your entire life history. And she's not afraid to tell you hers.
Harmless? Yes. But in such a cramped space, everything is heightened. And, maybe, because this is a space packed with strangers, you just want anonymity to wash over you. These are sky laws.
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Couples can be tricky. One member of the couple is probably already ticketed off because they have to sit in the middle seat (the seat everyone despises), while their partner looks out the window or has the luxury of more leg space on the aisle. So, you're already walking into a tense situation.
Of course, some couples can be lovely. Chilled. Doing their own thing. But I've been in the situation where I was basically dead to them both. I said "Hey" when they sat down and the woman just sneered at me, and she didn't acknowledge my existence for the rest of the flight. Like I was basically undressing myself in front of her boyfriend.
Or maybe she was afraid that I was a talker.
The first-time flyer
Not necessarily a talker, but rather a person with many questions. "Do I need a visa for South Africa?," was the strangest question I've ever gotten from an elderly German woman who sat next to me. Surely, she didn't need one, but one would think you might want to check that before you're descent into Cape Town International.
First-time flyers or inexperienced flyers are often the most nervous. "What's wrong with the plane?!" Only slight turbulence, don't stress.
From being unable to master the art of opening a cabin toilet door to attempting to bring a gun on an international flight (true story), flying can awaken the senses like no other experience.
That's why I always sympathise with first-flyers, I mean you already feel vulnerable in this vessel entering the skies, one you have no control over, and now you can't even open your fricken packet of peanuts. The humanity!
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