There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that social media has opened up a whole new world when it comes to meeting and keeping in touch with people. Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized social contact, while sites like LinkedIn help businesspeople to connect. Anywhere you go, you’re likely to spot someone using a social network on their phone or tablet.
Now, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has made your travel (business or otherwise) another way to connect with people, first via social media, then in person. The airline has a program called Meet & Seat, where passengers can choose who they sit next to by viewing their social media profiles. According to the airline, approximately 50,000 people have used the service since its launch in 2012. About half of those people use the service to make business connections on their flight.
While some people have embraced the concept, others think that the concept of doing business in the air could be invasive and annoying. Planes are often a refuge for business travelers – in the past, people have been forced to unplug for a flight. That may all be changing, though, because more and more airlines are offering in-flight Wi-Fi, and regulations about using cell phones on board an aircraft have been under scrutiny, with research suggesting that it may be safe to use cell phones on board after all.
Other companies are picking up this trend as well. Delta is in the process of launching a program called Innovation Class. The airline offers everyday passengers the ability to apply to sit next to industry leaders. The application is completed via social network LinkedIn. The first pairing occurred on a flight in March.
Two more social apps geared towards flying are becoming popular also. SeatID allows passengers to see if anyone from their social media pages has taken the same flight that they are booking. This allows the company to exploit the idea that people will purchase things that their friends have purchased before. Another service, Satisfly, quizzes fliers about their preference for a quiet flight or if they might like to socialize, then guides them to a seat next to someone with similar desires.
So what do you think about social flying? Are these services that you would use?