klm social seating
1047 days ago
 

KLM social seating initiative fun but potentially fraught

KLM’s latest plan to allow people to choose who they sit next to according to social media profiles sounds like fun in theory.

The idea is to link your social media profile to your check-in information and choose a seating partner presumably with similar likes and dislikes.

But, it also leaves you wondering how far they’ve thought through the plan, which could become reality early next year.

What  has made KLM, already well-known for quirky social media campaigns, think this is something passengers really want as opposed to a service the airline believes they might want?

One thing is to think a passenger might get on with another based on social media profiles, the reality could be quite different.

On a basic level, a business traveller might not actually be interested in talking business on a flight, preferring instead to read the newspaper, listen to music or catch up on sleep.

Of course, passengers don’t have to link up their profiles if they’re not interested but what if they play along and end up with someone who just wants to make a sales pitch.

You have to wonder how many people will be willing to take that chance.

KLM is not the first airline to tout the idea with Malaysia Airlines releasing a service on Facebook enabling passengers to see what friends might be taking the same flight or travelling to the destination around the same time – the obvious difference being that they already know each other.

Virgin Atlantic has also mulled the idea of allowing people with similar likes to hook up during a flight.

NB: Image via Shutterstock

 
 
Linda Fox

About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past eight years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.

In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.

Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.

 

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  1. Deon

    Sounds more like a mile-high innitiative :)

     
  2. Peter Sommer

    Has KLM’s idea actually been put into practice and rolled out yet? Will be interesting to hear what kind of actual response they get and how it works out in practice. Does anyone know of any non-airline companies in the travel industry that are considering a similar initiative?

     
  3. KLM asks: Want to pick seatmates by their Facebook profiles?

    [...] &#959n th&#1077 &#1088&#406&#959t &#1072r&#1077 scant, according t&#959 tnooz, wh&#1110&#1089h notes: “Of course, passengers don’t h&#1072&#957&#1077 t&#959 link up [...]

     
  4. 4 Ways to Innovate in the Online Travel Sector | | DOCUMENTSDOCUMENTS

    [...] their seatmate on a moody by their amicable networks (e.g. Facebook or LinkedIn). Although clearly intrusive to some, we acquire a ability to strategically lay subsequent to a destiny client, employer, or intensity [...]

     
  5. Ash Nallawalla

    The key message here is that such schemes are fraught with pitfalls but are great for garnering free publicity. Who cares if no passenger uses it? We’ll never know. This will get some KLM social media manager invites to numerous speaking opportunities for a relatively low cost of building the app. Cheap branding.

    Being opt-in, lots of people will stay away. As others have mentioned, people on long-haul flights are in the mood to relax and fall asleep. But it could work for very short-haul trips, provided that one is willing to give up a preferred seat.

     
  6. Tripalong the flight social network by MakeMyTrip.com | thedigital R

    [...] is not new, there is already planely and few more.. but for Klm, who recently announced a service of selecting seats based on social network and for OTAs like MakeMyTrip.com where they are selling [...]

     
  7. Dutch Airline Lets Passengers Pick Seats By Perusing Facebook Profiles

    [...] isn’t th&#1077 first airline t&#959 introduce social seat selecting. TNooz noted th&#1072t Malaysia Airlines &#1110n February rolled out a Facebook app th&#1072t lets [...]

     
  8. ristorante pesaro

    Very intresting article. Thanks for sharing!

     
  9. “Did you know…There’s money in non-social travel?” | | ExpertFlyer BlogExpertFlyer Blog

    [...] While KLM and Malaysia Airlines are offering passengers options to pick their seatmates through social network profiles, AirAsia X, in a contrarian move, is giving economy passengers the chance to guarantee that they will sit alone, stretched out across three seats. [...]

     
  10. Bruce Sweigert

    I would be happy enough just to get the aisle seat that I want. This model assumes that there is enough empty seats to get even more granularity in the selection that I desire.

     
  11. KLM unveils Meet and Seat allowing passengers to choose their travelling companion | China Hotel E-Marketing Strategies

    [...] weeks of coverage and commentary in national and international press KLM has unveiled its promised Meet & Seat service enabling passengers to link their Facebook and LinkedIn profile to their flight [...]

     
  12. Choosing Your Airline Seat Based On Your Social Network | Yahoo Crunch

    [...] travel website Tnooz, which first reported the story, wondered if “this is something passengers really want as opposed to a service the airline [...]

     
  13. Using Social Media to Choose Your Seatmate on the Plane « Interactive Strategy

    [...] more at TechCrunch and Tnooz. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

     
  14. Would You Use Facebook to Choose Your Seatmate?

    [...] to this Tnooz.com article, a similar feature has already been used by Malaysia Airlines and Virgin Atlantic [...]

     
  15. KLM: anche il volo in aereo diventa social? - Allnewz.it | Allnewz.it

    [...] dal punto di vista umano che per quanto riguarda la sfera lavorativa. Un bel dilemma, non credete?Fonte Leggi l’articolo completo su Blogosfere Tecnologiavar WIDTH=640; var HEIGHT=70; var [...]

     
  16. Airline Wants You To Choose Seatmates Via Facebook – Travel Agents Tour Operators

    [...] to tnooz: “Of course, passengers don’t have to link up their profiles if they’re not [...]

     
  17. Marketa Gsollhoferova

    I believe the KLM social initiative is nothing but another way of harming one’s privacy for business purposes. Just imagine how much room for misinterpretations is being open by this endeavor. For sure I wouldn’t like to be assessed and judged by someone who doesn’t know me at all only based on my social profile. We had numerous discussions with our clients on such topics recently at http://www.sprinxcrm.com and we take time to understand the ethical connection between social media and quality customer relationship management systems. The truth is, no one has a solid definition for privacy protection on social media yet. So the question is: how far are we willing to go with snooping your our clients’ privacy to serve them well? I’m not sure someone has the answer to this topic at this point.

     
    • Dieter Holle

      I see it as more of an opt-in/opt-out kind of service, i.e. you will only be able to be seated alongside a ‘matching’ person if you requested this and likewise the other person must have requested the same.

      Hope it’s like that anyway… just doing this without getting the opt-in would be a big FAIL.

       
      • Marketa Gsollhoferova

        @Dieter Holle – yes, I totally agree with you this should only be mentioned as an opt-in service. This I feel as a must.
        But anyway, the question I still have is if it is okay in the basic principle to give anyone (including me) the option to choose the person I would like to sit beside?
        For me this whole thing is too close to the era of racism and much more. This kind of option can harm so many people. It scares me, really. Just think what may happen – there are groups of people inside the plane who matched they fit one another. And there also is a group of those who want to stay “unknown”.
        Will those who match together get the power to ask somebody from the unknown group to leave the seat just because he doesn´t match them? Will the plane be divided into 2 separate places for these 2 groups? And if you even evaluate someone, can you really be sure the trip will be as great as you think just because you´ve believed someone´s Facebook profile – potentially a fake one? E.g. Are you sure he will smell fine to you?
        There are many questions to be answered and I´m only afraid where this whole thing can go to.

         
        • Dieter Holle

          Think it scares people like me and you, but there is a whole generation very open to this. I’d personaly not make use of this service, but know many people who would jump at it. Actually 10 years ago I probably would have done so too.

          I’d like to see how this is actually implemented and integrated. What happens if I opt-in but don’t find anyone suitable to sit next to from the available choices? Surely opting-out again cannot be an option, as that would then really open a loophole in being able to invade personal information.

          Anyway, I do commend KLM for thinking out of the box and taking a bit of risk with such an innitative.

           
          • Marketa Gsollhoferova

            Now you´ve just hit the nail! That´s exactly what I´m seeing as a big problem of this whole thing (I mean using social media for business purposes in common).
            As you´ve said there is a generation looking forward for this kind of services. Here´s the risk I can see:

            - you can never be sure the person who agreed to be matched is really the one he says on his profile. How can I know the photo of that charming person is reality? How can I be sure there´s no slayer hidden behind, waiting only for a chance to meet the best possible victim?

            - I don´t think anyone should have the right to really evaluate anybody before they meet face2face. This is really only one little step far from racism, religious prejudices and so…

            - and as you´ve mentioned the question stays upon the realization from the technical and business side. If KLM is able to provide me your Facebook data, they surely have the access to them too. Do you think they won´t use the big chance to keep them for their own purposes? Even to get some stats, create a special campaign for the “nice” people etc.?

            As I do still think, this idea now creates a buzz for the KLM´s brand, but the realization should stay apart for a little bit longer. Till all the risks and questions are solved.

            This is why our company didn´t join the SocialCRM thing by now. It doesn´t seem to be ethical to us. We think one´s privacy should stay closed and should not be used for business purposes – even as the opt-in. I´ve just written more at my blog about this topic – see http://www.sprinxcrm.com/blog/december-2011-%281%29/ethics-in-using-social-crm-principles-%E2%80%93-is-the-lim.aspx.

            Marketa

             
  18. 2011 十二月 19 | NhXl.NeT What?

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  19. Daniele Beccari

    Well, we’ve all seen the guys from SatisFly preaching social seating at airline conferences for the last two years, right? They seem to have already thought of all the aspects mentioned above.

    The big news here is finally an airline who gets serious about trying it.

     
  20. Choosing Your Airline Seat Based On Your Social Network | Tech Wacky

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  22. Airlines: use Facebook to pick who you sit with « Airlines News « Air Aviation News

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  27. Victor Vrsnik

    KLM should name the service “Manifest Destiny,” a play on US imperial ambitions and the predetermined list of passengers on a flight. The news release headline could be “KLM’s Manifest Destiny Driven by Social Networks”

     
  28. Coming soon: pick airline seatmates via social networks | RicciAngel News

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  32. Carla

    This is ridiculous! As if you can be bothered to set up a profile when booking flights. My main aim when on a flight is to try and sleep and just get through the flight. I barely even speak to my partner when we fly on long haul flights. This is completely off putting and will avoid it like the plague.

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @carla – why would people need to set up a profile, it would integrate through Facebook Connect, no?

       
  33. Dutch Airline Lets Passengers Pick Seats By Perusing Facebook Profiles | World Tourism and Aviation News

    [...] isn’t the first airline to introduce social seat selecting. TNooz noted that Malaysia Airlines in February rolled out a Facebook app that lets you book your flight, [...]

     
  34. John

    I just found that http://www.seatid.com is also doing Social Seating. Interesting…

     
  35. Choosing Your Airline Seat Based On Your Social Network | Facebook Information

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  36. Dutch airline wants you to use social sites to choose who you sit by

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  37. Dutch Airline Lets Passengers Pick Seats By Perusing Facebook Profiles | blu-delta.tk

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  38. KLM to Launch Social Seating Tool: Meet & Seat | Roam

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  39. KLM IS NOW LETTING YOU PICK WHO YOU WANT TO SEAT NEXT TO USING THEIR FACEBOOK PROFILES! | Naijagal-social media marketing, fashion, technology and more

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  40. A Dutch Airline Is Now Letting You Choose Your Seat Based On Fellow Passengers’ Facebook Profiles | Athens Report

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  41. Choosing Your Airline Seat Based On Your Social Network | Startup Help

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  49. Choose a flight seatmate through Facebook? | blu-delta.tk

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  54. Ason

    the picture looks like the cabin of TG

     
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  56. Tudor

    The social network spectrum of each of us can and should influence offline services. I am very happy to see such initiatives, since it proves again the power of social network and the ‘controlled serendipity’ that can occur in any moment of the 24 hour time of the day.

    KLM is known for their interest and attention to social media, compared to other air carriers that forget that. Thanks Linda for the article, it appeared also in some of the Dutch newspapers couple of days, but wasn’t capable of understanding the whole Dutch text.

     
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  64. Jim Kovarik

    this gets interesting if you insert bidding into the process ;-)

     
  65. Michael Schaible

    This is a hoax. KLM is not even not able to coordinate seating now. Do not even want to talk about their miserable service and outdated product. I have been fying with many airlines, have about 90 to 100 segments a year, but my few KLM flights were all disappointing. Their economy class is cramped considering the Dutch are one of the tallest people in the world. The food is tasteless microwave fast food, the service – if one can talk about service at all – is unpersonal. I have also tried their business class to and from Beijing on the 747 upper deck, supposed to be their flagship. It is better but on a level as Emirates or Singapore Airlines 15 years ago.

     
  66. RobertKCole

    An excellent strategy to increase demand for middle seats.

    Celebrities like @kevinlukemay could select center seats, enabling legions of super-model fan girls to position themselves not only on each side, but in the rows immediately in front, behind and across the aisle from him – each treasuring a dream of attracting his attention or even striking up a conversation…

     
  67. Dieter Holle

    Brilliant. It’s an opt-in/opt-out service, so everyone can choose. Great idea!

    Would be interested to know how this is implemented on the back-end, i.e. what level of integration was required.

     
 
 

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