Flying is great. It takes you away to those new horizons, cultural wonderlands and foreign adventures you’ve been dreaming of all your life.
But no matter how friendly a person you are, there’s a good chance that every other time you fly solo, you’re going to experience at least a little of the trademark awkwardness that comes with sitting next to a couple of complete strangers for somewhere between two and ten hours.
We like to try and combat this by saying hello and introducing ourselves, but there’s a select group of people out there who insist on leaving their human form behind when they take to the air and becoming the physical embodiment of all awkwardness in the world instead.
So, what can you do in these situations? You could sit back and stare at the seat in front of you, or you could fight fire with fire – not literally, that won’t go down well on a plane – and try and out-do your new neighbour’s lack of manners.
Here are some ideas on how to do exactly that. Needless to say, they’re all awful and you should never do any of them ever. But now that we’ve told you that, let’s get on with the list...
1) Loudly call, to nobody in particular, “I dream of one day joining the mile high club" as soon as you take your seat. Stare forward, sighing wistfully, for the rest of the trip
2) When finding room for luggage, take fellow passenger's luggage out and place in the aisle to fit your bag in. Leave it there after
3) When putting luggage back in the overhead locker, lunge onto your nearest armrest and use it to propel yourself upwards towards the luggage rack. Inform any onlookers that you like to work your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps before you take to the air
4) Just outright tell the screaming baby to shut the fuck up
5) Remove your neighbour’s earphones and confiscate their reading material if you don’t think they are listening properly to the ongoing security brief. Inform them that you’re only concerned for their well-being
6) Sensually whisper “Hold me. Hold me close" in your neighbour’s ear as the plane embarks on take off. Works best with 7ft basketball players
7) Every so often stop, take a deep breath and count loudly down from 10-1, briefly pausing before going back to whatever you were previously doing
8) Pretend to be talking on a Bluetooth conference call when you arrive on the plane, shouting things like “Yes Maurice, but does it scale?" and “Let’s take this back a slide Claire. What we’re really looking at here is the fundamentals of the user experience". When told by the air hostess that you must end the call and switch all devices to airplane mode, admit you were just faking it all along and, staring into your neighbour’s eyes proclaim: “I do love role play".
9) Blow your nose, only once, but emphatically, and then place the used tissue on one of your armrests
10) Loudly cry out mid-flight “WHY DID HE/SHE LEAVE ME?" before grabbing the forearms or lapels if possible of either, or both, of your neighbours
11) Ask the flight attendant what your chances are of crashing. Tell her that Hollywood would disagree. Sit back in your seat with a terrifying look and repeat: “Hollywood would disagree"
12) Make your way through the Bible while taking off on the flight, reading the entirety of the book of ‘Genesis’ out loud
13) Slowly close your neighbour's laptop, look them in the face with a tear dropping down your face and say "why won't you talk to me?"
14) At the start of the flight, tell your new neighbours in a kidding tone that you sometimes talk in your sleep. Several hours later, after feigning sleep on their shoulder and waiting carefully for your moment, start wildly screaming about three-headed spiders. “Wake up" shortly after like nothing ever happened
15) Tell your neighbour you’re only on the flight because you want to relive the TV Series “Lost"
16) At the first sign of turbulence turn round to your neighbour with a look of dismay and say “I think I just soiled myself". Hold their gaze
17) Download Men at Work classic “Down Under" to your phone. Play the first five seconds mid-flight before pausing and pretending to answer your phone as if it’s your ringtone. Shout "Hello!" and then turn to your neighbour laughing “don’t worry, just a joke! No signal up here!". Repeat throughout the flight.
18) Tell your neighbours you voted to leave the EU
19) Every 25 minutes take out your headphones, turn to your neighbour and ask “sorry did you say something?" laugh and apologise after they once again confirm they did not.
20) Shout “Fuck airplane mode!!" and try and get signal, all the while laughing hysterically
21) Starting with a light nudge, proceed to awkwardly push the person in front’s seat until they turn round in anger. When they do, shout: “I’M JUST TRYING TO GET COMFY"
22) At the end of the flight, tell your neighbour it was nice to meet them and offer a handshake. Turn it into a hug at the last available moment
23) Right before leaving the plane, stand in the doorway, turning over one shoulder and taking one of the air hosts/air hostesses by the hand to proclaim: “I’ll never forget you" before gently weeping in the exit doorway, refusing to move