Taking the friendly skies to a whole new level

Commercial airlines and social media have a turbulent relationship at best.

From the ongoing Alec Baldwin fiasco to Southwest’s clashes with director Kevin Smith and actress Leisha Hailey—and let’s not forget Dale Watson’s “Tiger Airways” plight—airlines’ recent PR blunders have played out over Facebook and Twitter.

KLM Airlines is looking to change that. Known for its social strategies—its Facebook wall serves a customer service center and allows for user suggestions—the Dutch carrier is developing a program that will allow passengers to pick who they sit next to by browsing the LinkedIn and Facebook profiles for other patrons. It’s like speed-dating for seat assignments—perhaps a one-way ticket to the mile-high club.

Malaysia Airlines has already charted similar territory. That company allows fliers to see if they have any Facebook friends already on their flight or headed to the same destination. Likewise, AirTroductions briefly experimented with an online dating service for frequent fliers in 2006, according to Daily Mail.

However, the so-called “meat and seat” initiative, which reportedly will be implemented early next year, could potentially take cyber-stalking to another level, where profile pictures and Klout scores determine who you’re buckled up next to. Travelers will be able to opt-out from sharing personal information, but where’s the fun in that?

This could replace in-flight entertainment altogether. Just imagine changing your relationship status at 40,000 feet.

Photo by wZa HK

Austin Powell

Austin Powell

Austin Powell is the former managing editor of the Daily Dot. His work focuses on the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously served as a music columnist for the Austin Chronicle and is the co-author of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology.