Given the pervasiveness of social media, it was probably inevitable that the airline industry would attempt to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to serve their customers. Predicting the manner they’d employ those platforms, however, might have proven more difficult:
This month, the Dutch carrier KLM began testing a program it calls Meet and Seat, allowing ticket-holders to upload details from their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles and use the data to choose seatmates.
The concept is a step beyond the not always successful efforts a few years ago by some airlines — including Air France, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa — to build “walled” social networks out of their existing frequent flier memberships.
Yes, now you can select a seatmate based on your shared interests as expressed within your Facebook profile. Do you love cats, Jesus, your mom, and America? Well, so does Jason F., from Des Moines! Get together and annoy the shit out of that third seatmate by talking about which type of cat Jesus would find cutest (mackerel tabbies, obviously!).
And KLM isn’t the only airline getting in on the action, either:
Last year, Malaysia Airlines introduced MHBuddy, an application that allows users who book and check in via the carrier’s Facebook page to see whether any of their “friends” will be on the same flight or in their destination city at the same time. The platform, which claims 3,000 monthly active users, also enables existing friends to select seats together.
Planely, a Danish start-up, allows registered users who submit their itineraries to view the Facebook and LinkedIn profiles of others who will be on flights with them. Since it began in late 2010, Planely has connected more than 1,500 travelers, according to its chief executive, Nick Martin.
Perhaps more useful is the service Satisfly (a Hong Kong based company) provides, whereby you set a mood preference; for instance, my mood is “shut the fuck up” (paraphrased). Theoretically, this will allow you to control what type of asshole you’re confined with–no more Saskatoon Dan the Cattle man and his ribald tales of a Montana beef auction! Although that story about Big Red Jim, Marco the Teat, and Jenny Loo was pretty awesome.
On KLM’s service, once you sign up you’ll see the profiles of other members; simply pick a seatmate and it sends your profile to them! It’s like a friend request, but somehow dumber! Thankfully, KLM is offering a “defriend” type option, as well–you can change your seat again within a certain period of time (if, for instance, you discover that Mandy in 17B is not DTF).
As we all know, this service will inevitably be used solely to find people who want to fuck in tiny airplane bathrooms. I love the future!