The other day clients and I were flying Southwest and they asked me how I decide where to sit. Since my objective on a plane is to engage people in conversation, here’s what I look for:

  1. An aisle or middle seat, which doubles my chances of meeting people. To my left was a female navy pilot training to be an astronaut. Talk about calm under fire. To my right was a pilot deadheading back home. Now I know what pilots think about when they’re flying, and it isn’t passengers.
  2. Someone with their head up and making eye contact with the people walking down the aisle. They practically have a need to talk. They often introduce themselves before I even sit down. These are usually men in the aisle seats who will help me with my luggage. That’s reason enough for me to sit next to them.
  3. There’s something interesting about them, their clothes, glasses, uniform. These are great conversation starters, and I’m in for a good story.