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Airline Passengers May Soon Choose Seatmates via Social Media

by Heidi Leder on December 16, 2011

Man sitting on airplaneKLM Royal Dutch Airlines recently shared that they’re soon going to allow passengers to check other travelers’ public Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to choose their seatmates when checking in online and choosing a seat. Dubbing the program “meet and seat,” it could launch as soon as January 2012.

The process is simple. When you make your reservation with the airline, you’ll have the option of making your Facebook profile public to other passengers on your flight. You could essentially scan the profile photos and recent status updates to discover potential business partners with whom you’d like to strike up a conversation, a flirting partner for the flight, a potential mate - or even avoid being seated next to a co-worker, a kid, or someone with unseemly status updates.

This seems to put additional pressure on choosing your own profile picture, and anxiety around the wittiness of your status updates. Will you censor your own updates prior to a flight? Will you book a photography session and buy an Adobe Photoshop license to improve your profile pic? Will ticket prices begin to vary along with an assumed attractive seatmate? Maybe a seat next to a Google executive or Venture Capitalist to/from tech conferences will jump in price.

Other airlines have similar plans to integrate social media into your travel experience. Malaysia Airlines will begin to allow passengers to check if any Facebook friends will be on the same flight, or if other passengers on your flight are headed to the same destination, according to  Virgin Atlantic airlines is weighing the same type of integration. This could be great for passengers looking to coordinate cab fare or share travel tips and recommendations - literally on the fly.

So, what do you think? Will you make your social media profile public before your next flight? Will you search the other passengers’ profiles when choosing your seat?


Travel & Entertainment, News, Travel, Blog

Discussion loading

Seatmate - WOW!

From Betty on December 16, 2011 :: 12:31 pm

If this is successful, it definitely means there are too many people with too much free time!


Do you Really?????

From Becca on December 16, 2011 :: 1:11 pm

Why don’t you just hand over your billfold or purse and say okay now let me see yours! I don’t know if i want to sit by you! I mean c’mon Really?????  Figure out something better than that. I wouldn’t want some stranger going through my facebook and reading my posts from friends and others.


What about protecting traveling adolescents?

From Christel Hall on December 16, 2011 :: 1:17 pm

Don’t some parents send their adolescents alone on planes under the watchful eye of flight attendants?  If this service is NOT opt in, that means some nasty pervert might choose to seat himself next to your 12-year-old daughter!  Just sayin….  Not a good thing.


Hmmm ...

From Terra on December 16, 2011 :: 1:29 pm

Will I be allowed to ask for a non-talker?


Definately an opportunity for perverts!

From Mrs Josephine Grossman on December 16, 2011 :: 1:32 pm

Wow! It’s sad someone decided to put something like this in
practice.  Didn’t they think about those children flying back from
school, camp, etc?  Once again, I’m glad I’m not on facebook.



From Terese on December 16, 2011 :: 1:45 pm

Absolutely the worst idea I’ve heard in a while.


Terrible Idea

From Jacqueline Johnson on December 16, 2011 :: 1:49 pm

As a frequent traveler and female, I could see where stalking could be a problem.  Dangerous idea. Plus who wants to sit beside a total stranger who does not want to shut up?


Marketing, marketing, marketingI have my

From Mike on December 16, 2011 :: 2:14 pm

Marketing, marketing, marketing

I have my dog’s picture on my fB page. Will someone want to sit next to me because I am a golden retriever? LOL

Maybe I will replace that one with a zombie…

I think I would post really bizarre status updates right before a flight. That way, I would end up sitting by myself. (Note to self: Remember not to shower and mumble a lot) Or next to someone who won’t talk to me…

I was stuck next to a guy who sold highway reflectors for 3M on a flight from Sacramento to Dulles. I now know more about highway reflectors than any one man needs to know…


This is really a dumb idea

From Jane on December 16, 2011 :: 2:38 pm

Well, if it’s not opt-in I’ll probably be sitting alone (yay!) because I don’t use twitter (my son described it as catnip for narcissists)and rarely use facebook - maybe once a month I’ll check in.  They would be better served to allow you to actually pick a seat you like - one away from scraming, crying children would be my choice.


Seat n Meet

From Debra on December 16, 2011 :: 4:01 pm

Yes my profile will definitely be more private than ever that’s just asking for more Problems than what social media already brings. Nope may even change to Amtrak



From Daniel Kolender on December 16, 2011 :: 4:15 pm

I will NEVER use this airline.


Seat-Mate A bad idea

From Pat on December 16, 2011 :: 6:12 pm

The one thing they obviously not taking into consideration. A phoney Facebook profile and page. What if the person is just sick enough to create a Facebook page and he happens to be some kind of a murderer? I mean sure the chances are slim to none, but would you really want to take that chance?
I think that K L M should really rethink this idea. It’s not something that I would be interested in doing.


Is private enough?

From Elizabeth Koehlinger on December 16, 2011 :: 6:41 pm

This might be a reason to just take down our Facebook pages!  Hope other airlines don’t take up this idea!


You've got to be kidding me !

From Celia on December 16, 2011 :: 6:58 pm

This is absolutely ridiculous. 

I can’t even get confirmation that my husband is on a flight—I’ve tried to track his return home after a particularly scary event and I had not heard from him.  But now, complete strangers will know that he is on the flight?  Luckily I’m blocking all access to my Facebook page, and use Facebook only for research but I feel bad for others who put their personal life out for all strangers to read.

You’ve got to be kidding me !



From Nancy on December 16, 2011 :: 8:08 pm

This is absolutely crazy!!!!  I don’t like this invasion of my privacy!!!


What's Next?

From Jana on December 16, 2011 :: 8:17 pm

Lately, it seems all you can count on from the airlines is something more ridiculous than the last. This is certainly one of the dumbest. In my opinion, at least. Raise the rates; charge for just about everything except the air you breath; limit the number and size of carry on, then the same for the luggage you check… Who is it who comes up with these ideas?

And no—I wouldn’t want to try it out.


No way!

From Christine on December 16, 2011 :: 9:45 pm

I love to fly though I have not had the opportunity recently. This would not appeal to me in the least! I think I will have to be sure to have family or friends with me so I am sure to have the seatmate of my choice . . . and NOT of someone elses choice. Do they have this as a mutual agreement???


Um.... NO.

From Julia on December 16, 2011 :: 10:59 pm

Sounds like it is intended to be opt-in only: “... you’ll have the option of making your Facebook profile public to other passengers on your flight.” Still, I am not sure I would trust KLM not to make a mistake. Likely the potential liability costs will prove to be prohibitive - but just in case, I am making a note to avoid them. Just the fact that they would consider such an intrusive and potentially dangerous idea is offputting to me as a frequent solo traveller.


Woww this is just crazy.

From Julimar on December 17, 2011 :: 12:44 am

Woww this is just crazy. What we need is more people with good manners who won’t be sitting back almost on your lap or be too close for comfort. (I can dream, right?) But who wants to choose a seatmate? Like you are going to be talking through the whole flight! I want peace and quiet, thank you.


Not for me!

From miller on December 17, 2011 :: 12:52 am

Now I’ll make sure if I fly again, I won’t use that airline.  However I think I’ll stick to driving my rv instead.  I won’t like them giving people access to my profile and getting to pick and choose to sit by me or not.  What about people that have stalkers and now this.  You need to rethink this idea and just not do it.


discrimination to the hilt!

From Bharat Bhardwaj on December 17, 2011 :: 3:46 am

I am absolutely saddened to see such a feature being launched by various airlines. it would definitely give rise to racism, & other discriminatory practices!

considering I am blind & may need some bit of assistance, which might be a little more than the rest, coupled with the fact of my being an Indian, which means, I am black too, looks like, I won’t even be allowed a seat in the toilet! :(

While i really respect peoples’ individual choices of associating or not with the peoples of some religion, race & creed but imagine a situation, when none of the people onboard, wish to associate with a particular individual?

are you telling me, that my social life would be held against me?


facebook suicide

From caledon on December 17, 2011 :: 7:41 am

I got so fed up with this sort of thing that I killed my facebook. Who needs it? Waste of time.


Horrifying idea

From ianb1 on December 17, 2011 :: 1:46 pm

It would make me choose another airline.


Worst Idea Ever!!!

From Connie on December 17, 2011 :: 2:22 pm

Whenever I fly, I head to the back of the plane and put on my “airplane” face, hoping that no one will want to sit in the back especially next to me. Maybe I should use my “airplane” face as my Facebook photo? Would it guarantee that seat next to me would stay empty?


Don't care for the idea!

From Pegi on December 18, 2011 :: 2:52 am

Don’t care for the idea!


Safety Concern?

From Katie on December 27, 2011 :: 10:26 am

I agree with a previous poster who voiced her concerns about stalking. I would worry about safety matters both pre- and post-flight.


Maybe in Europe?

From Steve on December 27, 2011 :: 1:48 pm

I’m not sure where the previous commenters are located, but it may just be we in the US are more uptight?  Perhaps with KLM’s customers in other countries, it’s not so threatening.  It could make for more interesting travel. (Unlike some of the commenting crumudgeons, I actually enjoy meeting new people.)  But, as with many good ideas, the Creepos of the world have ruined it for everyone.  Maybe instead of Facebook, opt-in users can create a profile in KLM’s site and post more limited info and interests. Then again, I think the randomness of airline aisle neighbors is a more interesting experience.


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