A new program at KLM Airlines lets ticketholders upload their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles along with their itinerary. Based on their profiles, passengers pick whom they’d like to “meet and seat” with. While admittedly, this program is not suited for the antisocial traveler, it has my attention.
I asked my Facebook friends about their opinion on this since many of them travel. One adventurous friend and avid traveler liked the idea while another who flies internationally often, said he hates when strangers try to chat on a flight. Another predicted a future where flyers would never be willing to sit with a perfect stranger without giving their profiles a good once-over.
Using social media to meet people isn’t anything new. What is new however, is that airlines have found a creative way to personalize the flying experience. By creating this new opt-in service, the airline benefits by getting additional information about you: the customer (a marketing gold mine). And who knows, in turn, you could end up meeting the love of your life or a business contact that lands you the opportunity of a lifetime.
This is a smart way to use social media for building brand awareness and customer loyalty. Instead of just ‘tossing their hat into the social media ring,’ and hoping it sticks, KLM is actually offering up a new experience for its customers.
This new service will give KLM an edge over other airlines with competitive ticket pricing. I see myself using it, but as I have a ridiculous fear of flying, I don’t imagine I would be much fun for the person sitting next to me. They would have to be willing to deal with intermittent arm clutching, demands for a window seat, frequent bathroom trips and offer up distractions during turbulence…any takers?
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