Interested in building relationships on an airplane? If so – here are your Do’s and Don’ts.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share my story of my flight recently. For those of you who follow my content through my blog ( or through LinkedIn Pulse, you’ve seen that I have a huge passion for relationship building. Words that come to mind in building relationships are as follows: genuine, authenticity, active listening, eye contact, and follow up. Let’s just say that my recent flight could’ve been a great sitcom sketch for Saturday Night Live. Please note that you will pick up on a lot of sarcasm below, but believe me – it is all true and meant for you to listen if you want to actually build a relationship on an airplane. Here are my do’s and don’ts for you to follow:


Headphone person – If someone has their headphones on, this might be a good sign to not tap them on the shoulder five times to try and talk. Recently happened. #EnjoyYourMusic

Bathroom weird person – If you’re in a middle seat and need to get up to use the restroom, kindly ask the person on the aisle if you can get up. This one seems obvious, but on my recent flight I witnessed a man in the middle seat get up and step over the man facing him. The airline should’ve provided him a facemask for protection. Do I need to explain more what the man in the aisle experienced? It wasn’t pretty. #SoSorryIHadtoWitnessThis #HurtForehead

Political Person – Whatever state or country you’re from, try not to tell the person next to you how much better your state or country is than theirs. Yup, just witnessed this one as well. #Merica

I watched ER on TV person – If exercise or injuries come up in conversation, don’t explain to your fellow passenger how their plan is the “wrong” plan for them. Even a doctor couldn’t diagnose me that quickly. #You’reNotaDR

Scary person – If someone has their laptop out, don’t stare at their screen and try to help them answer one of their customer emails. You don’t work for this company or with this person. #CommonSense

The Farter – Don’t pass gas. It just isn’t a fun experience in that close of company. #NotFunToSmellThat and could alarm the flight attendants that we have smoke in the cockpit.


• If someone has their headphones on, respect the fact that they are trying to relax or unwind. #EnjoyYourPodcast

• Use open-ended questions if you really want to talk. This shows the person next to you that you’re more interested in them than telling them how great or talented of a person you are. #TellMeExplainDescribe

• If you have gum, always ask the people in your row if they want a piece too. #TridentHelpsBreath

• If your seat mate asks a question about you and your line of work, be honest and transparent as you never know where new relationships or business can happen. #BeTheBallDanny

• If you’re traveling with children under the age of 5 and the person next to you is solo, buy him or her drinks. #NoBrainer.

OK, so I had fun with this. Though it all seems like common sense, it’s not. I travel more than I want to for work and have seen my fair share of characters out there. My goal of this piece is for us all to pick up on social cues so that we respect people when they are busy and don’t want to talk. On the flipside, you can identify times when they are open to talking and building new relationships.

Now it’s time for your call to action! I am sure that many of you have many other Do’s and Don’ts so please leave a comment and allow me to learn from you.

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