With countless thousands of passengers travelling through airports around the world every day, opportunities to make valuable connections are rife and available for you on every journey you take. But starting a conversation is a difficult part of the process. Identifying someone and approaching them without the technological medium that we are blessed with today is an uncomfortable position to be in. You know you want to talk to them, you don’t know how to start the conversation. This applies more when you are in the waiting lounge, pouring over the last issue of Wired and devouring your croissant-based breakfast, as when you are sitting in the jet you’re not going anywhere so it’s best to just introduce yourself. When it comes to meetings for business we all know the status quo: we prepare our elevator pitches, make sure everyone is in the know and find mutual opportunities. But personal connection goes a long way as well, and most people are happy to take a break from the stresses of work when getting ready to jet across the skies.
So let’s consider the eventuality that you might be standing next to someone interesting in a an airport lounge, or sitting across from someone who’s waiting for their plane just as you are. There are a few tricks that are in your toolkit to open the conversation. You can release the aforementioned elevator pitch, you can comment on something interesting about their style or accessories, or you can drop an earth-shattering flight fact… they always work, we promise.
Here are 10 air travel related factual conversation starters to get you going:
- The oldest airline in the world is KLM which dates back to 1920. Who knew the Dutch were the first in the commercial flight business?!
- You can save $40,000 by removing one olive from every salad served on an airline like American Airlines did in 1987. Which is effectively $86,000 today. Crazy.
- Lufthansa luxuriously purchases the most caviar of all the carriers, 10 tons per year.
- Alaska Airlines were the most futuristic airline in 1999 when they made the list of records for being the first airline with online bookings…
- Australians were influenced by Lufthansa’s caviar purchasing and forced Qantas to invent business class in 1979…Ok maybe caviar wasn’t the main impetus but Qantas did invent business class.
- Drink lots of water as your body sheds over 1.5 Litres of water on average for every 3 hours in the air without any extra physical exertion.
- Consider serving that failed overly-salty dish you made a couple nights ago to her on your flight to L.A. because apparently Lufthansa did a study and found that our ability to perceive salty tastes is dulled while flying. They studied this phenomenon after they noticed people were buying inordinate amounts of tomato juice in flight.
- If you want the highest chance of meeting someone interesting, go to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International. The busiest airport in the world with over 95.5 million passengers and over 930,000 aircraft departing and arriving each year.
- You’re pretty special because only 5% of the entire world have actually travelled by airplane, so get chatting
- Finally, the longest flight in the world is Delta Airlines flight from Georgia Atlanta to Johannesburg South Africa. 16h35 minutes. Soon to be topped by a 17h35 minutes flight by Emirates between Dubai and Panama City, you better choose well who you’re sitting next to!
Now you are armed with an arsenal of top flying facts that should add a little something to what could have been a conversation about sun-cream.