I have plenty of experience with air travel, visiting family in the Philippines & Japan growing up. Over the years, I’ve developed methods to help me tolerate the chaos of an airport, but air travel as an introvert hasn’t gotten any easier.
1. Anticipating the excess amount of human interaction during air travel causes social anxiety
Just anticipating the excess amount of human interaction at the airport is enough to make an introvert reconsider a trip. Check-in, security checkpoint, restaurant lines, boarding, and that’s before you get on the plane. You already have to worry about catching your flight, and now you have to laugh at the security officer’s jokes, too?
- Related post: Self Care for Anxiety Relief
2. The rush of security is the worst
Introverts and extroverts are on the same board with this one (pun, intended). But the rush of security is not just annoying for introverts. Human interaction plus trying to meet the pushy demands of security is overwhelming. It took me years to finally get a method going, and that’s with tons of mental breakdowns and times I wanted to cancel my trip & go home.
3. Arriving early enough to sit in solitude before the flight = time to recharge
Being able to take a social break in between security & boarding is just what an introvert needs to recharge. Nothing makes me happier than a row of empty seats at the gate. I usually sit at the end of the row, put my headphones on, and place my backpack next to me to ensure personal space.
4. Sitting next to an extrovert on a plane is the most unpleasant surprise
Don’t you wish headphones were enough to stop someone from talking to you? I do, particularly when I sit next to an extrovert on the plane. You’re literally sharing an armrest with this person. Isn’t that personal enough?
I usually have my introvert arsenal: headphones in my ears, a giant book on my lap, & my head down. Somehow they still don’t get the clue I don’t want to talk!
They’ll ask you everything from where you live to how your life is going, then proceed to tell you their life story. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve met plenty of awesome people on planes. But I also never talked to them again, so is it wrong of me to prefer the company of a podcast or book instead?
5. There’s nothing more anxiety-building than finding the right time to ask your seatmate to get up so you can use the restroom
Is it me or am I the only one that enjoys sitting in the aisle seat? Most of my anxiety from traveling comes from getting the courage to ask my seatmate to get up so I can use the restroom. The worst is when I literally have to wake them up (which is most of the time).
I found that it’s never a good time to do it, but I still end up waiting because I don’t want to bother them. The more I wait, the more I need to go, then the seatbelt sign turns on or they fall asleep…
- Related post: How to Not Be A Pushover: A Guide for Introverts
6. Sitting in the middle seat is another kind of hell
Being squished between two people for the duration of the flight is an introvert’s nightmare. You literally have no personal space, and you’re afraid you’ll fall asleep on one of your seatmate’s shoulders.
When I encounter the horrible fate of the middle seat, I usually put on a podcast and stare at the seat in front of me until the flight is over. The thought of moving & bumping the people next to me (and feeling the need to say sorry every single time) is daunting enough for me to put off moving altogether.
7. Window seat & a short flight = the best combination
Nothing sounds more peaceful to an introvert than staring out into the clouds & getting lost in your thoughts. You arrive at your destination as soon as possible & don’t have to interact with your seatmates as much. The bathroom can wait a couple of hours…
If you liked this post on air travel for introverts, check out these similar posts:
- Embrace Being an Introvert – 5 Ways to Let Go of Guilt That Does Not Serve You
- Why It’s Difficult to Embrace Introversion: Confessions of An Introvert in Denial
- How to Not Be A Pushover: A Guide for Introverts
Comment below if you share the same experiences–I’d also love to hear your own personal experiences with traveling!