The key to that, he thinks, is passenger compatibility, which could mean anything from hanging with folks in similar businesses, or simply getting a seatmate who likes to snooze as much as you do. And, yes, it could also mean sitting next to someone you'd really like to get to know better.
But Mello insists most travelers are less interested in hookups than in sharing business contacts, the names of favorite restaurants -- or just a taxi, if you're both into smaller carbon footprints. Ultimately, passengers will learn about Satisfly from their social networks, and when they purchase airline tickets online, they may be asked to check a box that says, "Working Alone" or "Relax Alone" or "Business Networking" or even "Social Networking" -- depending on what they want to do during their flight.
According to Mello, their "Intelligent Seating Service" will work with the airline's system to find you a like-minded seatmate. But wait a minute -- isn't this all rather Big Brother-ish? Aren't there some things we don't want our nearest and dearest to know, let alone our airline? Apparently, merely asking that question marks one as a bystander of the social networking revolution. Otherwise, you would know that this is a revolution sans skeletons, since there are no longer any closets for them to hide in.
Or, as Mello puts it, for the social networking crowd, "Privacy is simply no longer an issue. Ah, but brand loyalty is an issue, one that Mello believes can be exploited. As his "solution" becomes integrated with an airline system, he expects the results will create a more comfortable experience for the passenger that will lead to greater loyalty to the airline that provides it. Satisfly is now working with Hawaiian Airlines, testing its seating solutions on employee passengers, and is "in discussions" with other carriers.
When you think about it, this isn't exactly new.
Professional Matchmaker | Kelleher International
It is a sort of reworking of the concept of affinity groups -- but taking it to the next level -- by marketing on a one-to-one basis. Earlier, clumsier attempts at harnessing "affinity" might be illustrated by the late and not-so-lamented Hooters Air. And remember that proposed "all-smoking" airline from Germany? It got a lot of press, but never did get off the ground. And neither did the much ballyhooed "nudist flights" -- also from Germany what this says about Germany is something I refuse to think about.
One affinity group enterprise that is expected to launch is Pet Airways -- the carrier's first all-dog-and-cat flight is scheduled to make its cross-country debut in July. But these pet passengers have little say in the matter -- and come to think of it, how much affinity is there between cats and dogs? But I digress ….
Matchmaking in the Skies: Find Your Perfect Airplane Seatmate
Let me ask you: Will Satisfly -- and the companies that will no doubt follow -- change the way we fly? I could not say.
But I do like Mr. This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News. His Web site FareCompare.
From L.A. to Auckland, love is in the air
Are we forever doomed to seatmate pot luck? Who Cares About Privacy? It was just that kind of hypnotising beauty. I listened to their conversation; he was from Dublin, she was from Fermanagh and a former Miss Ireland contender. I pretended to read for the entire flight, but no story could compete with their conversation. He even bought her a drink; the trolley came around and she had left her purse in the overhead compartment.
Still, it got me thinking. What if you met the love of your life — or even a temporary love — in the air? And what if someone on the ground had purposely thrown you together? The self-check-in feature has been removed after a security threat, so passengers must now check-in in person. Cora uses her position to indulge her penchant for matchmaking, researching the passenger list in advance and seating potential couples together. Ever get stuck sitting next to someone on a plane that you wish you hadn't?
Dutch airline KLM is aiming to make air travel a more social affair with a new service allowing passengers to choose who they sit next to using Facebook and LinkedIn. The "meet and seat" service would allow passengers to see the Facebook or LinkedIn profiles of other flyers, who are also using the opt-in service, when selecting their seat. It's aimed at passengers finding people with like-minded interests to sit with during long — and potentially boring — flights.
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Though it is likely passengers would also use the service as an opportunity for business networking or to seek romance a survey by UK flight search company Skyscanner earlier this year found 45 per cent of passengers admitted to flirting with other passengers during flights. London's Telegraph reports that the airline is still working out the details of how the system would work and whether or not there would be a charge to use the service.