What the 9 Enneagram Types Are Thinking About On a Flight

As someone who has a pretty irrational fear of flying, I often wonder about the strange things other people think about when they’re stuck in a metal tube hurtling through the sky. For me, every bump is a face-off with death, and every calm smile of a flight attendant is a soothing balm to my soul. While I try to appear calm and confident, inside I’m counting down the seconds until touchdown.  As an Enneagram coach, I thought it would be fun to explore what each type might be contemplating on a transcontinental flight. Brace yourselves. This is going to be a turbulent (and not so serious) ride!

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Discover what the 9 Enneagram types are really thinking about on a flight. #Enneagram #Personality

What the 9 Enneagram Types Are Thinking About On a Flight

Find out what your true enneagram type is with our free enneagram test! #enneagram #Personality

Type 1: The Perfectionist

As soon as a One enters their row, they pull out their wet wipes and sanitize their seat, their tray table, and the window. While on the flight they’re probably examining the emergency exit instructions with the intensity of a bomb defusal expert. “Why would they use Comic Sans for such a critical document?” they’re thinking, while silently judging the flight attendant’s uniform for not being crisply ironed. These types need everything to be orderly and professional, and especially on time. If their flight is delayed, they’ll be the first to (politely) seek an explanation from the gate agent.

As the flight progresses, the One might start a mental list of all the ways the airline could improve its service. Perhaps they’ll even draft a politely stern email to customer service, all while ensuring they’re following every rule and direction over the loudspeaker to the tee.

Type 1 Essentials:

  • Noise-canceling headphones (to block out any annoying sounds)
  • A travel-sized hand sanitizer (because hygiene is paramount)
  • A well-organized carry-on bag (because chaos is the enemy)

Discover more about Ones: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram 1 Type

Type 2: The Helper

Twos are the most helpful passengers you can imagine. They scan their flight attendant’s face for any sign of fatigue and keep tabs on their fellow passengers, making sure everyone looks comfortable.  “Is this your first time flying?” they ask, ready to offer comforting words and possibly a homemade snack to the uneasy-looking passenger next to them. They may even try to befriend the flight attendants, offering to help serve drinks or calm nervous flyers.

Later, they might strike up a conversation with the person in the next seat, delving into deep discussions about life, love, and the merits of a potential friendship. By the end of the flight, they’ve probably made at least three new friends and exchanged contact information with their neighbors.

Type 2 Essentials:

  • Homemade cookies or snacks (to share with fellow passengers)
  • A heartfelt novel (to pass the time and feel all the emotions)
  • A cozy blanket (to offer to someone who might be cold)

Find out more about Twos: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram 2 Type

Type 3: The Achiever

Type 3s are probably flipping through the in-flight magazine, reading up on the latest business trends and success stories. They might take a moment to visualize themselves being interviewed for the cover feature. Even if they have a fear of flying, they’ll mask it by exuding confidence and control, perhaps by brushing up on their business plan or working on a PowerPoint presentation.

As the plane cruises along, they might be making mental notes on how to maximize productivity during the flight. “I could finish this spreadsheet, update my LinkedIn profile, and maybe even draft a new blog post about achieving greatness at 30,000 feet.”

Type 3 Essentials:

  • A sleek laptop or tablet (for working on important projects)
  • A business magazine (for inspiration and tips)
  • High-energy snacks (to keep their engines running)

Read Up More On Threes: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Three Type

Type 4: The Individualist

Type 4s stare wistfully out the window, contemplating their own existential significance while the world’s clouds float below them like so many lost dreams. They might be entranced by the peculiar reflections on their tray table, or perhaps jotting down poetic musings in a journal that’s as brooding as they are.

These are the types who probably brought a vintage typewriter in their carry-on and are now typing out a heartfelt soliloquy, much to the chagrin of their nearby passengers. They’re deeply involved in curating their unique identity, even while hurtling through the clouds. “Do these stale pretzels somehow symbolize the human condition?” they ponder, while slowly munching in an artful and deliberate manner.

Type 4 Essentials:

  • A vintage journal (for capturing all those deep, soul-searching thoughts)
  • A novel by a dead poet (for inspiration and commiseration)
  • An eclectic playlist (because no one can understand their unique taste in music)

Find out more about Fours: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Four

Type 5: The Investigator

Type 5s are the ones who seem to be perfectly content in their own little bubble, hunched over a hefty tome that is only slightly lighter than their compact carry-on. These introverted and highly analytical souls are grappling with the eternal question: “Why did I ever leave the comfort of my bed?” The mere thought of small talk with the passenger in the next seat sends shivers down their spine. They desperately hope that their aura of intense concentration will act as a force field against any unwanted interactions.

As the flight progresses, 5s are mentally cataloging every noise the airplane makes, trying to figure out the exact make and model of the engines. They might even take out a notepad to jot down some speculative aeronautical theories, in the event that the plane requires an emergency landing and the pilots need their expert advice. Ultimately, they feel a sense of accomplishment if they can pass the entire flight without speaking a single word to anyone.

Type 5 Essentials:

  • A thick, obscure book (preferably something that screams, “Do not disturb”)
  • Noise-canceling headphones (to ward off any auditory intrusions)
  • A highly organized notebook (for jotting down existential musings and engineering diagrams)

Discover more about Fives: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram 5

Type 6: The Loyalist

Type 6s are internally debating the safety protocols while subtly assessing the competency of the flight crew. They might be counting the rows to the nearest exit and mentally rehearsing the steps they’d take in an emergency. “Better safe than sorry,” they think, clutching the armrest a little too tightly.

As the flight progresses, they might engage in small talk with their seatmates, subtly fishing for signs of reassurance. They could also be preparing contingency plans for every possible scenario, from turbulence to an unexpected layover in a remote location.

Type 6 Essentials:

  • A detailed itinerary (for planning out every step of the journey)
  • A stress ball (to manage any in-flight anxiety)
  • A book on mindfulness or relaxation techniques (to help stay calm)

Find out more about Sixes: The Enneagram 6 Loyalist

Type 7: The Enthusiast

For a Seven, a flight is another opportunity to try something new or see something they’ve never seen before. They are excitedly planning their in-flight entertainment, making sure they experience everything the flight has to offer. “First, I’ll watch that new blockbuster, then I’ll try the in-flight trivia game, and maybe I’ll even chat with the person next to me about their travel adventures,” they think, their enthusiasm contagious.

As time passes, they might flip through the in-flight catalog, imagining all the exciting destinations they could visit next. They could also be snapping selfies and posting updates on social media, sharing their excitement with the world.

Type 7 Essentials:

  • A fully loaded tablet (with movies, games, and e-books)
  • A travel journal (for planning future adventures)
  • A Nintendo (for playing games and connecting with other passengers)

Find out more about Sevens: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Seven

Type 8: The Challenger

Type 8s are surveying the cabin like a general preparing for battle, ready to take charge if anything goes awry. They might be thinking about how they could optimize the boarding process or improve customer service. “If I were in charge, things would run a lot more smoothly around here,” they think, mentally drafting a takeover plan.

As the flight continues, they might get into spirited debates with their seatmates about politics, business, or the best strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse. They thrive on intensity and challenge, and a flight is just another arena for their assertive energy.

Type 8 Essentials:

  • A gripping novel or movie (preferably with strong, dynamic characters)
  • A notepad (for jotting down ideas for world domination)
  • Healthy snacks (to keep their energy levels high)

Find out more about Eights: 10 Things Enneagram 8s Need in a Relationship

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Nines are looking for some peace and quiet during their flight, and maybe a good nap. They are contentedly settling into their seat, tuning out the world with a good book or soothing music. They’re thinking about how nice it is to have a few hours of peaceful solitude, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. When the turbulence threatens to disrupt their homeostasis, they turn their thoughts to a peaceful proverb, repeating it in their mind until the anxiety lessens. “This is a great opportunity to relax and recharge,” they think, adjusting their neck pillow.

As the flight goes on, they might engage in light conversation with their seatmates, always aiming to keep things pleasant and harmonious. They’re happy to go with the flow and enjoy whatever comes their way, whether it’s a surprise snack or an unexpected movie recommendation.

Type 9 Essentials:

  • A neck pillow and eye mask (for ultimate comfort)
  • A calming playlist (to create a peaceful atmosphere)
  • A gentle, uplifting book (to keep things stress-free)

More About  Nines: 10 Things Enneagram Nines Need in a Relationship

What Are Your Thoughts?

How do you feel when you’re flying to your next destination? Do you have any stories or experiences to share? Let us and other readers know in the comments!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via FacebookInstagram, or Twitter!

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  1. I’m a Social 7. I get really excited when I’m flying someplace. But, after that, I feel more like a 5. I always have reading material and do my best to avoid having to talk to people. It’s a great time to build a cocoon and save my energy for when I arrive at my destination.

  2. In a plane, I believe I’m fully 8w7 😂 I’m your age but I’ll try to sit at the window, and I get soooo excited at take-off, I just love that feeling of power coming from the engine giving everything it has 😂
    I also have a tablet full of movies and my Kindle 😁 with some love stories. Gotta take care of that 4 in the 874 😂

  3. Mmh I wanted to specify and I forgot, the “I’m your age but” I totally feel like a little child going to Disney Land 😂

  4. Hi Susan,
    I am a Myers-Briggs INTJ. I am less familiar with the Ennegram typing but I think I recall testing as a “5.”

    Your analysis of a type 5 on a commercial flight was so accurate I had to laugh. I spent a month in the Philippines this winter for a vacation which, being half way around the world from New York is about the longest one can fly commerically.

    I DID take a large, obscure book on the flight: Immanual Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (which I never actually read on the flight). I was fascinated by the seat-back camera access video displays the planes have now. By turning to the appropriate channel the passenger can see the terrain they are flying over and with an graduate degree in Physical Geography I have quite a wealth of information (if I do say so) in my head about the landscape we were flying over from Ireland in the west to southern China and Vietnam in the east just before crossing the South China Sea to Manila.

    Like your fictional ennegram number 5 above I was studying the plane’s structure and model. I’m somewhat accustomed to flying the relatively small Boeing 707 and 727 from San Francisco to New York but these long-haul international flights utilize enormous Boing 777s and European Airbus models. These big jets fly about 5,000 feet higher and 100 mph faster than the smaller intracontinental models. So we were flying closer to 41,000 feet (instead of 35,000 ft.) and 550 mph instead of 450 mph. I flew economy and I have to say it was pretty miserable. I’m almost 6’1″ and there is just not enough leg room for taller people. (I guess I should have checked into that before I booked my ticket?) Fortunately none of my seat mates were at all chatty.

    Just thought I’d let you know what a long commercial flight is like for an INTJ (or ennegram type 5). Honestly, I spent most of the combined time of the flights out and back (about 26 hours total) watching the ground beneath the plane from the tail camera alternating with a not too bad movie like Tom Hank’s “A Man Called Otto” which is about an ISTJ man who has recently lost his wife. Tom Hanks is one of the genius directors and actors of our time but that is too much of a digression here.

  5. I disagree with the one… I’m an infj one and I wouldn’t do that. I feel like it’s narrowed-in stand-point for maybe an istj or esthetic that’s a one.

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