Airline offers chance to pick who you sit next to
Published 15/12/2011 | 09:46
TRAVELLING alone on an aircraft can be a lottery. But now the Dutch airline, KLM, is offering passengers the chance to pick who they sit next to.
It is developing an internet service known as “meet and seat” which will give fliers access to to their fellow travellers’ Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.
The scheme will be launched next year and KLM admitted that many details still have to be worked out.
Many airlines already charge passengers if they wish to pick their seats more than 24 hours ahead of travel as they look to wring as much money as they can out of passengers over and above the cost of the plane ticket.
However KLM was unable to say whether it will levy a fee for what is believed to be the first such matchmaking service to be adopted by an airline.
Although the details remain under wraps, the technology appears simple. Passengers looking to choose their seat ahead of travel can do so on the internet already, with most airlines putting seating maps of aircraft online.
One option would be to link a passenger’s internet profile to the seat he or she had chosen and make it available to others who wished to use the same service.
It could enable people with like minded interests to while away the time on a long and boring flight or at least enable passengers to avoid being stuck alongside the traveller from hell.
For some passengers the service could provide an opportunity for professional networking and swapping of business cards.
Others may hope to strike up something more than a friendly conversation.
According to one poll of 1,000 travellers earlier this year by a flight comparison website, that 45 per cent of passengers admitted to flirting during a flight.
A third of respondents said that the encounter on board led to a rendezvous on land, with eight per cent saying that it led to a fully-blown relationship.
Another American came to similar conclusions with 29 per cent of respondents admitting that love had struck either on board or at the airport on one occasion.
An astonishing 10 per cent confessed that this had happened on more than one occasion, while 3.6 per cent said they could not take a flight without becoming romantically involved with another passenger.
The KLM initiative has been echoed else
While other airlines have stopped short of using Facebook as a dating service, they have not been slow to use social media.
British Airways now has more than 136,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook has formed a key marketing tool, with the airline running a competition to subscriber.