Never Sit Next To Boring People Again
One of the dreads of air travel is sitting next to someone who is either crazy or can drive you crazy with annoying habits, non-stop chatter or just plain old boorishness, resulting in impulses to jump out of the plane or slowly throttle your seatmate.
So, Hotel Marketing.com states the obvious when it says air travel has gone from “glam to glum.” But as in so many cases, social media is being touted as the panacea for air travel doldrums. It seems some travel-media web sites are engaging in what Hotel Marketing calls the Match.com of travel.
But the opposite can be true, too, says USA Travel.
It’s possible, the article says, to “luck out” and be seated next to someone really cool, as in the case of one passenger who sat next to a French pastry chef, or in my case when I sat next to a detective novel writer, who had me at the edge of my seat with plot ideas and characters.
But all this good stuff is the stuff of luck. Kismet.
Now social media sites like Copenhagen-based Planely.com are designed to connect travelers with other Planely travelers who are on the same flight, or at the same arrival or departure airports, making sharing a cab, a cup of coffee or just meeting a new friend a real plus in the frenetic and impersonal world of air travel.
Satisfly’s web site asks if you want your seat neighbor to be “like-minded; to share your hobbies or speak a specific language…or would you rather chat and rest?
They can arrange it.
USA Travel quotes Asaf Engel of IMGuest, a social networking company that arranges face-toface meetings for travelers, as saying that it’s about being engaged. “We push people to get along and meet up,” he says.
Worried about privacy?
The Dutch airline, KLM already has a “Meet and Seat” program in place that lets people chose their seatmates based on Linkedin and Facebook profiles.
And Malaysia Airlines has a “MHBuddy” application that allows passengers to share their itineraries on Facebook and chose a seat buddy from their Facebook friends.
The airline says about 20% of their Web check-ins are through MHBuddy, a remarkable number considering the program is only a year or so old.
Whether this new social media tool will work for the airlines and their passengers remains to be seen.
But you can’t fault them for trying to make the skies a bit friendlier.