Spurred by a recent flight up to Seattle on Southwest Airlines, a friend of mine brought up the curious psychology behind airline seat selection. On Southwest Airlines, you board the airplane in groups. You are assigned to a group based on your rewards points, time you check in etc. There are no seat assignments. You seat yourself anywhere in the cabin class you have paid for (i.e. coach/economy or first class). If you are in one of the earlier boarding groups, the cabin is your oyster. You can go window for a fuseloge wall headrest, ailse for anxious bladders or center for your choice of 2 shoulders to drool on. Once you are seated, now newly boarding passengers have more things to consider.
As the very attractive person walks past your aisle you might wonder why they didn’t sit next to you. Do I look weird? Too eager? Is my breakfast offensive? Do I look like a talker? Do I look like a stalker? As a big, sweaty footballesqe person comes near you’re thinking, “please don’t pick me,” as you make the emergency evacuation card now in your lap look like the most interesting thing you’ve ever seen. Then the Goldilocks Effect takes place. A person who you find attractive (sexually or non-sexually), friendly, hygienic, cool, not too big, not too small is walking down the ailse and BINGO the perfect person picks YOU and they are just right.
Why did this perfect person pick you? Did you deliver an unsaid invitation or raise an invisible foam finger pointing to the seat next to you? Did you visualize yourself getting out of your aisle seat to let them in before they even got close?
Your now-two-person clique is bound to attract a perfect third person to round out the hat trick. Congratulations. This is going to be a great flight.
How do you send non-verbal signals in order to attract just the right people in your everyday life?
(photo by Sakanami, via Flickr)