SCENARIO: you’re booking a flight from LAX to Seoul. Flying time estimated at thirteen hours. We all hope for that glorious empty seat next to us; elbow room, storage space, perhaps an opportunity to curl up in the fetal position and nap.
But the social butterflies among us may prefer someone interesting to chat with, something that’s pretty luck of the draw. Seems like it doesn’t have to be, though, thanks to social networks that allow you to meet people that share your interests. And thanks to apps that can use those accounts to discern those interests, and match you up with others you haven’t virtually or physically met yet.
According to TechCrunch, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (part of Air France KLM) has that all figured out. Their opt-in social seating tool “Meet and Seat,” launching next year, will work with Facebook and LinkedIn (but not Twitter) to find someone who, I guess, “likes” the same things you do.
Malaysia Airlines already has a similar service in which you can see if a Facebook friend is on your flight and opt to sit next to him or her.
I’m inclined to agree with USA Today in that this is potential fodder for the flight from hell. I’m not exactly anti-social, but I’ll confess to experiencing apprehension before meeting fellow travelers at tweet-ups and the like – and we’re just talking an hour or two over a few beers. The thought of facing over twelve hours with someone I’ve been “matched” with on a cramped plane sounds too much like the longest and most awkward blind date ever.