Airline KLM launches program to match up passengers

Ever wish you could choose who you sit next to on a long flight overseas? The Dutch airline KLM is launching a program to help you do just that.

Adriene Hill: The Dutch airline KLM has launched a new seating program. And no -- this isn't another story about paying for your aisle seat. KLM is going to let flyers choose who to sit next to based on their online profiles.

Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports.


Eve Troeh: There are two types of airline passengers, says George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog.com.

George Hobica: Those who put their headphones on and bury themselves in a book and those who are more social, and who realize that actually the person sitting next to you could be your next business partner.

Or a dinner date. KLM's "Meet and Seat" program lets passengers post details from Facebook or LinkedIn. They can "ping" others who've shared data, and ask to meet up before the flight, sit together, or share a taxi home. KLM's launched the service in just two routes; about 200 passengers have taken part.

Simon Haslam is with the Social Research Association.

Simon Haslam: It doesn't necessarily need to work in the long-term, for them to benefit in the short-term, for relatively low cost.

He expects more airlines to follow KLM's lead, though he says it's too early to tell who's more likely to use this type of service: colleagues headed to a business conference, or singles looking for love. Sites for the latter already exist -- if you didn't get a chance to talk to that hottie two rows back, there's Wemetonaplane.com to track them down later.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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