When flying from one destination to another, a seat mate can often make or break a good flying experience. Many people have gone through flights with a screaming baby or someone’s wandering elbow, and it’s a pretty large pet peeve of many people when it comes to flying. A Dutch airline, KLM, is working on changing the flying experience.
According to this article, KLM is working on allowing flyers to select their seat mates based on mutual interests. The project is under wraps, so not many details have emerged, but KLM let it slip that they may be using Facebook and LinkedIn as a way to connect passengers with each other.
This idea has a lot of possibilities worthy of exploring. The potential to make business contacts is huge, and a flight is a pretty good excuse to have an impromptu business meeting. Connections can be made, business cards passed around, and the airline benefits from this sort of reputation. Details are still very much in the works, but KLM has stated that they are not interested in trying to make love connections; they also haven’t stated what the compatibility requirements will be.
However, this “social seating” plan could have its drawbacks. Some people may not wish to speak to others during a flight, or they may be compatible professionally but not personally. There could be an opportunity for confidentiality breaches among companies as professionals try to make deals. There may be inaccurate information between the different social media sites. And if people lie about themselves or puff themselves up on their social media sites, that could spell trouble for the people they are paired with during a flight.
Overall, I think it’s an innovative plan and a good way to create publicity for KLM’s airline. I can’t take a definitive stand since the public knows so little about this plan, but it’s one of those things that seem self-obvious. I’m surprised it’s taken this long to implement something like this.