KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is launching a new “Meet & Seat” in-flight matchmaker service early next year that will let passengers choose who they sit next to on flights by accessing information from their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and picking their ideal “seat-mate” based on interests, profession, profile photos and cup size.
Really?! This brings cyber stalking to a whole new level. I get the fact that no one wants to sit anywhere near that sick, unruly toddler in an enclosed germ tube for any length of time (sadly, we were that family this past weekend), the first-time flier convinced they’re going to die, or the chatty grandma with sixteen grandchildren and a hearing impairment. I appreciate that it would be super dreamy to have technology at your disposal to avoid such scenarios at any cost and even have some influence as to who you sit next to on any flight lasting more than forty-five minutes (short of having the Holy Grail of the Skies – an empty seat next to you on an otherwise full flight).
But if you’re anything like me and you’re traveling alone for business or whatever, unless you’re Angelina, I’m going to want to be completely focused on getting some work done, becoming immersed in a good book or movie (thank you iPad) or cranking some Pearl Jams through my noise reduction headphones immediately when it’s allowed to do so (which should be a good hint). I’m not going to want to talk to anyone very much. Not to be rude, but this is my me time.
So please don’t hit on me, don’t ask me for a job, don’t pitch me and don’t stalk me, thank you very much. Not that I’m expecting any of this to actually happen, but I’m speaking for society in general. Just say “No” to technology in this case and leave your travel arrangements to fate, the travel gods and bribeable ticket agents, which is how it should be.
It’s not that I’m really that anti-social – it’s just that the idea of someone going out of their way to make such an effort to sit next to you, without you knowing about it, seems really creepy and dictates an agenda of some sort which can only result in a very, very long flight – especially if you’re traveling overseas. That creature out there on the wing pulling apart the engine that only you can see suddenly becomes the least of your problems. (I told you before I was a nerd.)
Apparently Malayasia Airlines is releasing a similar service on Facebook which will allow you to check if any of your ‘friends’ are booked on your flight or visiting the same destination at the same time. Virgin Atlantic has also expressed interest in the idea, so this may not be going away. (Although another company, AirTroductions, offered a similar online dating service in 2006 for frequent flyers to meet other travellers, but it crashed and burned.)
Fortunately while the ‘matchmaking’ service will be available to all passengers, for those who would prefer to keep their headphones on and information private, there will be an opt-out option so you don’t have to share your personal information. Which is what I’ll be doing, unless Brad is home watching the kids. “Champagne?”