Seat lottery jackpot | Things I’ve Learned From Strangers

Up, up and away.

Ananya Sharda | Graphic Artist

I really like being on planes. In fact, there’s a lot to really like — but not love — about being on planes. Just “like” really. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. There’s still the turbulence, the crying babies and the drunk people. 

Also, I have to get this off my chest. Another fear that I’ve unlocked is people getting mad at me for putting my chair back. Um, excuse me? What is that all about? Actually, no, don’t tell me. I don’t really care — because I’m going back. Whatever you try to say, I’m going to lean back. 

That little button that was installed many moons ago makes the chair go back for a reason. You can try to invalidate and refuse the triumphs of engineering, but I won’t. 

So, cry me a river. I’m going back. 

I digress. With all of the obstacles that might hinder your experience, having a good time is up to you. That’s why it’s so important to prepare for a flight. Here’s how I prepare: 


They must be Bluetooth for my iPad — yes, I’m an iPad baby — and ones with a cord, so I can plug them into the chair TV. After all, there’s literally nothing better than rotting your brain for hours on a chair TV. 

A big, big soft scarf

“Big, big soft scarf” can be a lot of things. It can be, well, a scarf, for one thing. It can also be a blanket, a face covering for when someone farts or even a fort. Now, you might be thinking about the logistics, but all the fort would be is chair to chair. 

The list goes on. 


Watching movies and TV can get old after a while, so sometimes I turn to older forms of entertainment to make me feel something again. On my last flight, I was reading a book called “Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett, which the older woman who sat next to me told me she absolutely loved — and that is where I move to my next category. 

New friends

Well, you can’t pack for this category, and frankly, I don’t do this one much. However, it would be a dream if I did. 

Sometimes, when you’re flying alone, you hit what I like to call “the seat lottery jackpot” and are sat next to the dream team. On my last flight, for spring break, my friend Sarah was sitting next to two other BU students and ended up making a group chat with them and taking a selfie. The group chat has never been used since, but the selfie was proof that there was a sense of trust and camaraderie in the moment that could never be shattered. Is that not the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard? 

On that same flight, my friend Bella was sitting in between an elderly husband and wife duo who shared their snacks while giving her advice on graduation, college and marriage. The marriage one was subconscious, as they were bickering quite a bit and it was more of a what not to do. They were a sweet couple, nonetheless. 

To be quite frank with you, I don’t know whether I’ve ever hit the seat lottery jackpot, to be quite frank with you. There have definitely been times that I have chit-chatted with the people next to me upon boarding and again upon landing, but I haven’t taken a selfie or shared a snack. Nevertheless, it is important to be kind to your neighbors on planes — because you’re all going through it together. 

When the baby starts crying, though you feel a little guilty for being annoyed, you need someone to look at and roll your eyes. 

When the beverage cart runs out of apple juice, you need someone to grieve with. I absolutely hate when that happens, but it’s a hot commodity, so what are you going to do?

When the pilot makes a safe and steady landing, you need someone to look at, smile and start clapping with to get that going. What? You guys don’t clap when the plane lands? Well, that’s just absolutely terrible. 

So, when you’re packing up your bag for your next flight, think about entering the flight more open-minded. No, sometimes you don’t want to talk on the flight, and that is valid. Maybe you never want to talk on flights, and that is also totally fair. 

But, if you’re flying alone and are wondering what might make the turbulence, the crying babies and the drunk lady slurring “I can’t believe I’m going to Massachusettsssss” more tolerable, try opening your heart to a little chatter. 

Just a little, though. Don’t be the annoying, chatty person on the plane when I’m trying to watch my chair TV with the seat back. 

Yeah. I said it. 





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