I am not much of a talker when I am on a flight. Besides the usual hello and learning more about who they are and what they do, I try to steer away from conversation. While there are passengers who gives you space, there are some who constantly crave conversation. Clinton Moodley lists 5 ways to avoid chatting to your flight seatmate:
Take a toilet break
Undoubtedly the oldest trick in the book, taking a toilet break is one way to tell your seatmate that it’s time to end the conversation. While you try to avoid conversation, be polite about it. I usually say: “I think it's time for a toilet break, see you just now…” or “I am going to have to cut this short to visit the loo...” Remember that while it's easy to take a toilet break, you still need another diversion when you get back to your seat.
Catch up on some office work
The laptop has always been my saviour. If I feel like the conversation needs to end, I switch on my laptop. Sometimes, I end up getting work done, other times I catch up on series. Passengers do not like to disturb people who are in work mode, which is great when you tired of making small talk.
Catch some shut eye
Taking a nap helps divert unnecessary conversation. Let’s face it, sometimes all we want to do on a plane is sleep, and having someone constantly chatting to you can disturb that sleep pattern.
Bury your head in a book
Nothing beats reading. Not only does it transport you into a different world, it also gets you some peace and quiet on the plane.
Put on your headphones
Headphones helps to block out any distractions, even that chatterbox neighbour next to you. However, try not to be anti social. While you may not want to speak, a smile, hello and small gestures can help show your seatmate that you not that airplane snob who everyone hates more than the chatterbox, but that’s a story for another day.