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February 23rd, 2012

Would You Use Facebook to Find Your Seatmate?

Starting this year, choosing your seat on an airplane may involve more than just a window or an aisle decision. KLM Airlines announced a plan that would allow passengers the option to link their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles when purchasing their tickets or when checking in. The profile information would then be available for other passengers using the service to view when choosing their seat. Known as “Meet and Seat,” the airline has been quick to point out that the service is meant for networking and not dating, but either way the main question is; would you use it? Security issues aside (some concerns have been raised about giving the airline access to personal information), as a fairly social person I would be happy to end up sitting next to someone who shared an interest in photography, had lived in Buenos Aires, or with whom I had a mutual friend. And if a ticket on KLM and a competitor were the same price my curiosity about the “Meet and Seat” service would probably lead me to choose KLM. With sites like LinkedIn growing to over 100 million users in 2011, KLM is clearly betting that more and more people will warm to the idea of potentially turning their flight into a more social affair. KLM isn't alone in trying to leverage social media to appeal to consumers, Malaysian Airlines and Ticketmaster have also unveiled similar services with their customers and the website is trying to take it a step further by connecting people pre-flight for airport carpools and after so they can share cabs to hotels. At the end of the day, regardless of whether you use the service or not, in-flight privacy is always just an iPod and a pair of headphones away.