09/24/2013 07:38 am ET Updated Sep 25, 2013

The 10 Types Of People You'll Meet On A Plane

Some [weird] air travelers enjoy having seatmates. Some [normal] air travelers do not enjoy it so much.

Despite your best efforts to avoid hosting a human in the seat next to you, odds are one will end up there.

Here, a guide to some breeds you may encounter on your next flight:

The Nomadic Traveler

Defining characteristics: Large backpack, cargo and/or all-weather pants, one or more dreadlocks
Opening line: “Check out this hemp balm I bought in Thailand.”
Reading material: Into The Wild
Pro: Travel stories for daaaays
Con: The scent that comes with two shower-less months

The "Important" Businessman

Defining characteristics: Laptop, briefcase, loafers that are far too nice for a plane
Opening line: "What do you do?"
Reading material: An Excel spreadsheet
Pro: Networking, potential job offer as a receptionist and/or loafer polisher
Con: His hawk eyes will catch you reading PowerPoints over his shoulder

The Mother of Young Children

Defining characteristics: Young children, diaper bag, collapsible stroller
Opening line: "Shh!"
Reading material: Goodnight Moon
Pro: Adorable faces, peekaboo games, free Cheerio samples
Con: Sounds of crying, wailing, screaming and burping

The Mother Of Grown Children

Defining characteristics: Reading glasses, iPad with pictures of grown children and their children
Opening line: "You remind me of my daughter."
Reading material: Self-help book
Pro: Juicy stories about other young adults your age
Con: Too many juicy stories about other young adults your age

The "Is He Famous?"

Defining characteristics: Sunglasses, baseball cap, Louis Vuitton messenger bag
Opening line: "Hey."
Reading material: Large phonebook. Or is that a script?
Pro: A pleasing aroma of patchouli and musk
Con: Unquenchable feelings of mystery, curiosity and/or giddy excitement

The College Kid

Defining characteristics: College sweatshirt, large and omnipresent headphones
Opening line: “Were you in a frat?”
Reading material: Stats textbook
Pro: A walk down memory lane, free of charge
Con: Those giant headphones mean you’re listening to Jay-Z at maximum volume, too

The Flight’s Cutest Couple

Defining characteristics: He's carrying the bags. She's carrying smiles.
Opening line: “Wanna hear how we met?”
Reading material: Sudoku For Two
Pro: Restored faith in true love
Con: The smacking, slobbery sound of a thousand quick pecks

The Wise Old Man

Defining characteristics: Knit sweater and/or vest, worn-in athletic shoes
Opening line: "When I was your age..."
Reading material: historical fiction novel
Pro: A thousand new adds to your "quotes to live by" journal
Con: Politely smiling after a thousand "quotes to live by"

The Traveling Teen Soccer Prodigy
Defining characteristics: Vinyl duffel, monochrome track suit
Opening line: “Who’s your team?”
Reading material: David Beckham's biography
Pro: A thorough rundown of this week’s national invitational
Con: The lingering scent of dirty cleats

The World’s Most Dashing Young Man, aka Prince Charming, aka Your Future Husband*

Defining characteristics: Chiseled jaw, casual backpack, Princeton Alum T-shirt
Opening line: “Hi! How are you?”
Reading material: The new Ellen Degeneres memoir
Pro: Your life has been made complete
Con: n/a
*This breed of co-passenger exists, though studies have yet to determine whether he exists solely in our imagination.


Worst Airline Passengers
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