You're on a plane. You want to sleep, read, quietly relax. But you're seated next to an excessively chatty passenger. Recently, a Seattle Times Travel story gave suggestions on...

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You’re on a plane. You want to sleep, read, quietly relax. But you’re seated next to an excessively chatty passenger. Recently, a Seattle Times Travel story gave suggestions on how to silence a seatmate. Today, readers share their strategies.

I tell my chatty seatmate that I was just exposed to a potent virus (by people who were so sick for three weeks), don’t feel well, and probably shouldn’t breathe on them. Then I close my eyes and meditate. It works every time! Sometimes they choose to change seats, especially if I cough a few times.


David Dixon, Mercer Island

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I traveled about 80 percent of the time with my job and joked about my office being located at 30,000 feet.

After a long, hectic trip, I longed for my quiet and downtime on the plane. I would acknowledge my seatmate, but not engage in any conversation. I’d be polite, but not social.

If I found myself with a constant talker, I would either read or do work. If that failed, I would inform them that I’m a terrible traveler and often get sick and needed to concentrate.

As a last resort, I would ask them if they needed their air-sickness bag, because at times I needed two.

I never needed another option.


Alma Tcruz, Renton

On a flight from London to Seattle, I had settled in nicely next to the window with my book when a gentleman plopped himself into the middle seat and promptly covered himself with the airline’s blanket. He did not come up for food, drink or bathroom break until we landed in Seattle. I don’t think I’d even had time to bother him, but I know he didn’t bother me!


Heidi Clarke, Burien

Regarding the verbally abusive seatmate: I sometimes tell the person who initiates the chatter that my hearing aid is not in and they are sitting on my “bad” side. If it is an older person I try to look sad about not visiting during the flight, and then subtly pull out my book. Worked so far.


Kathleen Schrum, Seattle

This idea actually came from my daughter, as she would try to avoid conversation while riding Metro to and from school/work, but certainly would apply to all seatmates, plane or otherwise.

She learned enough signing to make a few quick gestures, and a motion of a finger to her mouth. Voilà! Silence!


Mike Peringer, Seattle