obviously a whole bunch of my friends would make this list in a heartbeat, but here are others I would be chomping at the bit to sit next to on a long-haul flight, assuming we both were awake at the same time and were in the mood to talk (or drink).
-Robert Winston (one of my heroes; I saw him looking rumpled after getting off a flight at Heathrow in January...tried not to stare; but I have about a zillion questions to ask him about the world, which I'm sure he could answer)
-Janeane Garofalo (actually, I'd just let her talk..the whole time, while I gush and grin )
-Alain de Botton (do I have to explain? no, didn't think so)
-Tina Fey (we could speak Greek when we were talking about annoying passengers!)
-John Cusack (or Lloyd Dobler..because I would pretend to be scared of flying and he would hold my hand)
-Sophie Calle (and then she would make some insane work based on a silly thought we came up with)
-Dave Eggers (again I would just let him talk the whole time, while reminding myself he is a married man)
-Gene Wilder (I heart him so much)
I am pretty much always on my own when I fly, and most of the people sitting next to me thankfully keep to themselves (well, I did sit next to a rose bush on an Olympic airways flight to Hellas once...that was amazing; they put a seatbelt around it and everything) but once, on the flight to Tel Aviv a lovely young man sat next to me and said hello with a broad and relaxed smile.
He was a classical opera singer from Brighton going to visit his grandparents.
We talked about it being my first time to Jerusalem and he showed me photos (and videos) of the city, gave me some helpful tips (and some quiet warnings about how I can expect to be treated by the Israelis, ironic considering he was Israeli) and he apologised in advance for their behaviour.
We ordered drinks and snacks for each other and gossiped and recommended movies (he insisted I watch VickyCristinaBarcelona right there and then and after I was done, we had a good gush session about the film, and Woody Allen in general). He talked about holiday romances and affairs with Parisians and how happy he finally was with his boyfriend and their new apartment.
By the end of the 9 hours we were stuck on the runway and hadn't moved an inch due to the heavy snow, but it felt like we had been friends for ages; not to mention he almost, almost, convinced me that I could sing, that everyone can sing, and that I should have some lessons to get more confidence.
So yeah, that was pretty much the most fun I've ever had with a fellow-passenger...and boy, the time sure passes quickly when you are talking and laughing, doesn't it? Thanks Darren.