Along with about 100 other stressful things associated with air travel, worrying about who you’re going to be shoulder-to-shoulder with for the next 4+ hours is often one of the top concerns. We’ve all been next to that guy who blows his nose every 10 minutes, or the woman that insists on gabbing about her grandkids along with pictures to illustrate, or perhaps the person who ate his favorite, spicy Mexican dish a few hours prior and is now suffering the aftermath.
What if you could select your neighbor based off of their Facebook or LinkedIn profile? A Dutch airline, KLM, is testing a program called “Meet and Seat” that allows you to do exactly that. Ticket holders have the option to upload their info from either one of the previously mentioned networking sites and use the data to choose who they sit next to. Flyers can choose how much info they want to share, and then view the seat map that details where others who have shared their profile are sitting. Given that the seat is available, you can then select a seat next to the person you find most interesting. The person you’ve selected will then receive an email with your profile details.
It isn’t possible to “reject” someone who has chosen to sit next to you, but you can elect to move to another seat as long as it is at least two days before the flight. If you feel awkward about moving and having the other person know, you can delete your profile details altogether and just go back to the regular, anonymous method of seating.
For the social type that look forward to the potential positive interaction on airplanes, this is a dream come true. For others, it might not work out so well. As stated by a blogger interviewed for a New York Times article, “Pity the poor venture capitalist who gets seated with the start-up guy who talks his ear off for four hours.”
What do you think? A great step forward in innovation for airlines? Or do we now have to worry about being “unfriended” on a plane?