Airlines Take In-flight networking to new heights


All of us here at Sure Maritime Travel are embracing the technology we have available to us to enhance our customer experience.  Airlines appear to be taking this to another level!
Two carriers, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, are letting passengers share their social-network profiles or photos and pick seatmates before the flight.

KLM’s Meet & Seat and Malaysia Airlines’ MHbuddy ‘social-seating’ programmes let passengers see who will be on the same plane or who else is flying to San Francisco to attend the same business meeting.

The can even be used to pursue passengers’ social-network profiles to find a potential soul mate.

“The social-seating plans, initiated by KLM in January and by Malaysia Airlines last year, are seen as the ultimate social-networking dream by some and an invitation to stalkers and a privacy nightmare by others,” writes USA Today.

According to the New York Times, two start-ups, the Danish company Planely and Hong Kong-based Satisfy, also have software that matches flyers with potential in-flight chums, based on their social-networking profiles and other data they submit.

But the development hasn’t been welcomed by all.

KLM’s Facebook page has attracted comment from some concerned customers.

“Very weird,” writes Nora Barry Byrne. “I totally vote on the creepy. Is the default to opt in or opt out? If I was traveling with my kids/teens or traveling on my own — all I think of is the creeps that would use this to stalk.”

KLM’s Meet & Seat, available on flights between Amsterdam and New York, San Francisco and São Paulo, is voluntary.

After passengers book their flight, they have from 90 days to 48 hours before departure to access ‘Manage my Booking’ on the airline’s website.

There, they can choose Meet & Seat if they want to opt in to share their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles with other passengers.

They can also edit their profile and photo and choose which information they want to share with other passengers.

The seating map displays the seat choices and Facebook or LinkedIn profiles of other passengers who have decided to participate in Meet & Seat. Users are notified by emails.

“Dozens of passengers have already shared their profile during the first few days,” Ellen van Ginkel, a KLM spokeswoman told USA Today.

Malaysia Airlines’ MHbuddy is a Facebook application. As they check in on Facebook, they can view the photos and seat selections of any of their Facebook friends on the flight and can choose seats next to them, if available.

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