Love is in the air with social networking

Strangers on a plane: New ways to meet and reconnect with fellow flyers have emerged through social media

Story highlights

  • KLM offers way for flyers to see others' Facebook profiles when they check-in
  • New 'Seat & Meet' service designed to help people sit with like-minded travelers
  • Another website set up for those who missed a love connection on flight
Running the rule over fellow airline passengers; it's as common as stowing your bag under the seat in front of you and fastening your seat belt.
Who hasn't spent a few moments sitting at a departure gate wondering who you might be seated next to for the next few hours? You hope it's not the family with the hyperactive child or the nervous flyer who unfortunately, for them and you, is out of valium.
Now Dutch airline KLM has tapped into our in-built social screening to offer a service that will let you know more about fellow flyers well before take off. Launched this month as part of their online booking service, "Meet & Seat" allows passengers to link their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles to the seats they choose.
The idea is that when picking an aisle or a window seat you can see if the person next to you has similar interests and the potential for stimulating conversation, or if you'll need extra batteries for your noise-cancelling headphones.
So far KLM is only letting passengers on flights from Amsterdam to New York, San Francisco and Sao Paolo use the service. The airline says all personal profile details are deleted from the airline's systems 48-hours after the flight.
For those that aren't so bold and want to be set up with strangers by social media, a website for shy and lovelorn flyers went live earlier this year. Called "We Met on a Plane," it is designed to help passengers who may have had a moment of mutual attraction or enjoyed a conversation, but forgot to get those digits before deplaning,
"It's about the ones that got away," says founder Will Scully-Power. "We're doing what Mark Zuckerberg can't. If you're single and you didn't get the other person's name, how can you search for them on the internet or Facebook?"
Scully-Power first thought of the idea last year after meeting his current girlfriend on a flight from Thailand to Sydney. The 31-year-old Australian did get her number and love blossomed, but he thought that more people have probably missed their opportunity than seized it.
When researching if there was something in his idea he found there were around 4,000 internet searches each month for "we met on a plane." It's early days for the site, but it has clearly stuck a chord with flyers with people from 28 countries posting lonely-heart missives. Some posts even mention flights they took over ten years ago and a fateful missed connection. That could count as excess baggage.