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Pick Your Seatmate Via Facebook on South African Airways

May 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM | by | ()

When it come to selecting an economy seat for a flight, there is a very limited platform on which you can base your decision. There are two decisions to make: Aisle or middle, and front or back. Other than that, it's a blind decision, most notably in terms of who ends up being your seatmate. The classic complaint always revolves around an annoying seatmate who talks your ear off all flight, but is this only because we typically sit next to people with whom we have nothing in common?

South African Airways thinks so, and is launching a new feature called Social Check-In to help people select their seats based on common interests with other passengers. The concept is pretty simple. When you check in online, you can choose to share select Facebook details, such as your interests or upcoming events, which are then available for other passengers to see when they are selecting their seats. Passengers can then vet the value of empty seats by evaluating who is occupying the ones adjacent to it.

For this to be even remotely useful, a large percentage of people have to participate. And, if you are someone who wouldn't want to socialize on a plane even if you were sitting next to your best friend, this service is irrelevant. But for those of us who don't mind a conversation to pass the time, it sounds like a good idea in theory. Why not make a friend along the way?

This writer's biggest concern is that people will use it the wrong way. It's one thing to set up a system that allows people to have a casual conversation, it's another to turn flying into speed dating. The opening sentence from this article, for example, shows that some may not have the most honest intentions when using the service.

What do you think? Would you use this type of social check-in? We're interested to give it a try next time we fly South African. Hit us with your thoughts in the comments below.

[Photo:DNA India]

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