Therefore, since we fly Southwest and seats are not assigned, I find my ability to be obnoxious somewhat helpful when choosing a seat and a seat mate (even though once seated, I don’t necessarily get to choose my seat mate). What I decided to do was use my never-to-be-conquered sense of humor.
So when a potential seat mate passenger lingered close to my aisle, and he or she appeared to be healthy, I would half-jokingly, but not really, say, “I would love for you to take this seat, but I do a health check. Are you coughing or sneezing?” If they replied no, I would wave them to sit down. Sometimes they even chuckled with me.
My travels were flu-free, and my seat mates were congenial and, I guess healthy. Sometimes being obnoxious is effective, if not the height of courtesy and manners. One has to have one’s priorities.