Flying may get more social as a number of online startups are promoting interaction and connection of travelers by helping them meet and even choose their seatmates based on their social media profiles, according to USA Today.
The startups aim to reverse the trend of the worsening flying experience to one that allows more control over who ends up next to you. April Thompson, a travel blogger, told USA Today that when she joined Planely.com, a social website that connects fliers.
“I've had some really great experiences on flights,” Thompson told the paper. “I always thought it was a great opportunity to meet cool people, so I figured this tool would facilitate it and keep me from sitting next to crazy people.”
Planely and other websites, such as Satisfly, are pushing people to meet up. Delta is also trying its hand at social media by selling tickets on Facebook, the paper said, and Dutch airline KLM started a “Meet & Seat” program which lets fliers pick who sits next to them based on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.
Twenty percent of the web check-ins of Malaysia Airlines are done through MHBuddy, a system the airline introduced last year allowing fliers to be able to be seated next to any Facebook friends on their flight.
Fliers can also pick a seatmate based on whether or not they want to sleep on the flight. Satisfly.com members are asked to submit profiles to designate if they want to sleep or talk and even offers to bring together people with similar hobbies and languages.
The spreading socialization of travel isn’t limited to the flying experience. Sites such as LobbyFriend and IMGuest are targeting hotels by offering a system which guests can post messages on lobby TV screens or by checking into a network connecting them with travelers at the hotel, according to the paper.
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