The airline that lets you choose a seatmate using Facebook

Coming soon: The "meet and seat" — at least if you're flying KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

(Image credit: CC BY: Pigpen_71)

Flying can be a nightmare — just ask Alec Baldwin. But would the ability to select whom you'd be sitting next to make hours of airtime more bearable? That's the premise behind Dutch airline KLM's new "meet and seat" initiative, designed to let passengers share Facebook and LinkedIn profiles with the rest of the flight's passengers beforehand in the hope of pairing up agreeably. Here's a quick briefing:

What exactly is "meet and seat"?

Essentially, a "matchmaking service," says David Millward of Britain's Telegraph. Most airlines already allow passengers to choose a seat by perusing a chart of the airliner's seats on the internet. KLM, which admits it has many details to work out, would take that process a step further by letting you click seats adjacent to the one you're considering to see if those travellers had made their Facebook profiles available. Theoretically, the system would let you choose a fellow passenger with "like minded interests to while away the time on a long or boring flight."

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Would the service cost extra?

At this point, says Fox News, "it's not clear if KLM would charge a fee" for the service, slated to launch at some point next year. Of course, "travelers who don't want to participate can decline to make their profiles publicly available."

And this is a good idea?

It could be. Fox News notes that AirTroductions airlines offered a similar service in 2006, but soon discontinued their scheme "after it made controversial headlines." A poll conducted earlier this year by a travel site found that 45 percent of people admitted to flirting on a flight, with 8 percent of those dalliances blossoming into real relationships. Some commentators, of course, are skeptical of the proposed "meet and seat." "I'll believe [the plan could work] when they manage to make decent airline food," says Rebecca Cullers at AdWeek. "But next time I travel KLM, I might opt in anyway. After I change my profile picture to a baby vomiting on a dog, that is. What's way better than getting to pick your seatmate? Sitting alone."

Sources: AdWeek, Fox News, Newser, Telegraph

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