On the surface, KLM's new Meet and Seat initiative merely seems like a godsend for jet-setting socialites wanting to fill a long-haul flight with in-depth analysis of the latest sex scandal in London. However, do not be fooled by its masquerade. This initiative invites the attention of the world's stalkers as much as it does budding socialites.
The new scheme from Dutch airline KLM allows passengers to share their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles before takeoff - meaning that in theory, they can choose to sit next to someone with similar interests or a fellow business person heading to the same conference. The voluntary service casually suggests a drink beforehand with your chosen partner or a shared taxi to your final destination after the flight - an all-round more pleasant flying experience. For those considering trying it out, book your desired flight, then flick through your fellow flight-mates' profiles at your leisure before selecting your seat. But don't forget this also means people can choose to sit next to you too.
KLM has given the vague justification that there's an option to swap seats if you don't like the look of the person who has requested to sit next to you. But it's all too easy to invent a completely fake persona, so that instead of the leggy blonde you were hoping for, you end up sat next to some clingy quasi-stalker who's printed out your Facebook profile picture and memorised all your personal information. Should you choose to share your entire profile, anyone has the opportunity to look through your profile, find those holiday snaps of you from last summer, and then insist on taking a post-flight taxi with you because you're 'staying at the same hotel' - it has the potential to all get very creepy. Returning home with a tan, souvenirs and a stalker is one item too many for most of us.
The airline has also claimed that Meet and Seat is an opt-in scheme, so no-one's forced to comply. But that doesn't stop the rest of us having to listen to those who do. It is an invitation for lovers of banal gossip to get together for eight hours in a plane cabin and recount, in unashamedly loud monotone, the trivial trials and tribulations of their pointless lives. Whereas usually the rest of us would be able to leave the room for the sake of our brain cell conservation, there is literally no escape on a plane but a fatal one.
The scheme also questions how far social networking is going to encroach on every aspect of our lives. The Consumerist - a blog for dissatisfied customers - summed up the whole situation very concisely, observing that this initiative is turning a jet cabin into a ?high school cafeteria'. It seems that we live in a world where people are becoming more and more anatomically attached to their twitter account, insisting on informing us of every detail of their lives. These people need little help from KLM, which appears to be in on the plot to condemn us all to some technologically-induced hell pit.
They're not the only ones either. Danish airline Planely and Hong-Kong's Satisfly have also got similar systems in place, with JetBlue, American Airlines and Delta Air all reportedly interested in the idea too. So it seems that the days of settling into your seat, grabbing a good book on and drinking yourself into forgetting about the hours of flight time ahead are long gone. Loud, brawling, inane conversation seems to be the order of the day, and these airlines are serving it up on a platter for the few who are brave enough to enter the fray.
The recent weeks have seen a great deal of hype in the news about the latest ...More
Last week, the Telegraph reported that one of Hollywood's hottest couples, namely ...More
Last week saw India dominate newspaper headlines both in the UK and across the ...More
Last week saw the Maldives take a hit to its tourist industry after an online ...More
After 48% of Brits agreed that passengers who are overweight should be charged ...More
Last week the luxury experiences website veryfirstto.com, together with London-based ...More
Last week's news brought to light the issue of crime in south Thailand's province ...More
Each year it seems that the ease of air travel becomes hindered further by the ...More
Paris is the most visited city in the world. As we saw earlier on in the year ...More