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The Mile High Club Meets the 21st Century

February 27, 2012

By Caitlin Nitz, Knowledge & Research Specialist

The old saying "Don't judge a book by its cover," is more relevant than ever in today's Web 2.0 world. From LinkedIn to online dating profiles, we now judge other people based on tiny 100x100 pixel images. Never before has image control and personal promotion been more important to get a job, a boyfriend, and now a good seat on an airplane. 

KLM, a Dutch airline, has introduced its "Meet & Seat" program, which lets passengers pick who they'd like to sit next to during the flight by browsing other passenger's Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. The airline touts it as an opportunity to sit next to someone "interesting" and "expand your network." Promotions for the program on the airline's website feature two handsome young business men meeting at the airport lounge before the flight, chatting it up onboard, and sharing a cab ride into the sunset after landing.

It's all so wonderfully naïve. I can't help thinking that Meet & Seat could create the blind date from hell, where there's literally no exit strategy and no "emergency phone call" from your best friend to rescue you.

Thank goodness the Meet & Seat fine print reads, "every passenger reserves the right to change his or her seat and KLM reserves the right to assign or reassign a seat at any time, even after boarding of the aircraft" - in case you did a poor job of judging that book by its cover.

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