Airplane Conversation Starters: How to Break the Ice at 30,000 Feet

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Break the ice on your next flight with these fun and engaging airplane conversation starters!

You’re buckled in, the plane is at cruising altitude, and you’re sitting next to a stranger for the next few hours. The silence could be awkward, or it could be an opportunity. Engaging in a conversation might seem daunting, but with the right starters, you could be making a new friend, sharing a laugh, or even landing your next big opportunity.

TL;DR – Quick Takeaways

  • Breaking the ice on a plane can be easy and rewarding with the right conversation starters.
  • 40% of travelers have made lasting friendships with people they met on a plane.
  • Conversations during flights can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • With the right approach, you can engage in meaningful and exciting discussions.

Why Engage in Airplane Conversations?

According to a survey conducted by Expedia, a whopping 40% of travelers have made lasting friendships with someone they met on a plane. And there’s a good reason for this. As Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, puts it: “The airplane is a remarkable invention. It allows us to travel the world, meet new people, and experience different cultures.” So why not make the most of your flight time by engaging in conversation with your fellow passengers?

Benefits of Airplane Conversations

A study by the University of British Columbia found that passengers who engage in conversation with their seatmates report feeling less stressed and anxious during a flight. It’s not just about passing the time – these conversations can have tangible benefits for your mental health.

Starting a Conversation: Dos and Don’ts

Starting a conversation with a stranger can feel like a daunting task, especially in the close quarters of an airplane. However, with the right approach and some tried-and-true conversation starters, it can become a lot easier. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Do: Use Open-Ended Questions. Instead of asking yes-or-no questions, try to ask questions that invite the other person to share more. For example, “What’s the most memorable place you’ve traveled to?”
  • Don’t: Get Too Personal. Remember that you’re talking to a stranger, so steer clear of overly personal or sensitive topics.
  • Do: Show Genuine Interest. If the other person seems eager to share, show interest in what they’re saying. This can make the conversation more engaging and enjoyable for both of you.
  • Don’t: Force the Conversation. If your seatmate doesn’t seem interested in chatting, respect their space and privacy. Not everyone is in the mood for conversation, and that’s okay.

Conversation Starters to Try

Now that you know the dos and don’ts, let’s dive into some specific conversation starters you can use on your next flight:

  • “Are you traveling for business or pleasure?”
  • “Have you seen any good movies lately? I’m always looking for recommendations.”
  • “Do you have any tips for getting over jet lag?”
  • “I’m always looking for new books to read. Have you read anything interesting recently?”
  • “What ‘s your favorite part about traveling?”

Remember, the goal of these conversation starters is not just to break the ice but also to invite the other person to share more about themselves and engage in a meaningful conversation.

A Word of Caution: Respect Boundaries

While engaging in airplane conversations can be exciting and rewarding, it’s crucial to remember to respect boundaries. Some people might prefer to keep to themselves during a flight. If you sense that your seatmate is not interested in a conversation, it’s best to respect their wishes and give them their space.

Conclusion: Embrace the Opportunities of Air Travel

Air travel is more than just a means to get from point A to point B. It’s a chance to meet new people, share stories, learn new things, and even make lasting friendships. So next time you find yourself on a plane, don’t shy away from striking up a conversation. Who knows? It might just be the highlight of your journey.


1. Is it rude to start a conversation on a plane?

No, it’s not rude to start a conversation on a plane, as long as you respect the other person’s boundaries and social cues.

2. What if the other person doesn’t want to engage in a conversation?

If the other person doesn’t seem interested in a conversation, it’s best to respect their wishes and give them their space.

3. Are there topics that I should avoid?

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid overly personal, controversial, or sensitive topics. Stick to neutral topics that can spark interesting discussions.

4. Can I engage in a conversation during a night flight?

During a night flight, many passengers might prefer to sleep. It’s best to respect their wishes and keep the conversation for daytime flights.

5. What if I’m shy or introverted?

Even if you’re shy or introverted, you can still engage in airplane conversations. Start with simple, open-ended questions and take it from there. Remember, it’s okay to be yourself!

You should also read: Airplane meal options


  1. Expedia Survey
  2. University of British Columbia Study
  3. Richard Branson Quotes

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