I will be the first to admit that making friends on the plane can be hard, especially when travelling on early morning flights. But there are interesting characters on a plane who can become your good friends in the future.
While it's hard to make friends, it can help you in the long haul. I remember when I was travelling abroad, I met some really cool people who I still keep in contact with. Often, one may feel intimidated when seated next to someone, but the worst that can happen is them dismissing you or pretend to be asleep.
If you want to start up a conversation with the person next to you, here are some tips:
Start with a smile…
Even before you take a seat, show your fellow passenger that you are friendly with a big smile. A smile can ease any situation and is contagious. If you are all grumpy, chances are that the person next you will behave the same.
...then a hello
A smile is not enough to start a conversation, therefore say a simple hello. Great conversations start with a hello and can attract other themes of conversations.
Share your snacks
I always carry some snacks to share. Food sparks a lot of conversation.
If those do not help, take a toilet break
You will be surprised how much one create a conversation by just a few words. You can say: “Excuse me, can I step out to go to the loo?’ When you back, you can talk about how long the lines were, how clean or dirty the toilets were or anything fun related to the flight. If this doesn't get the ball rolling, nothing will.
Take a hint
Often people do not want to chat and prefer being alone. Learn to take a hint and give them some space. There are many people who you can meet on board during your next flight.