Let’s travel social

travel_social_featured

Have you ever run into someone you know who happened to be on the same flight? Sure you have. This scenario has occurred relatively often for me and did so again this past Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s how it typically goes down: I’ll run into a friend in the terminal, strike up a conversation, and minutes later find myself on the plane stuck next to the “personal space invader” or “mystery funk dude.” Good times.

So why don’t we make the booking process social? That way we could sit with our friends and followers, or perhaps with someone who shares similar connections. Its about facilitating people and conversations.

Here’s a quick overview of how the booking process could work (shown on Virgin America):

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STEP 1: CONNECT WITH FACEBOOK (OR TWITTER, ETC)

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STEP 2: SEE WHERE YOUR FRIENDS OR FOLLOWERS ARE SITTING

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STEP 3: BOOK YOUR SEAT AND ENJOY A BETTER FLIGHT

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Millions of sites are incorporating Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn API’s into their frameworks, which begs the question why travel services aren’t doing the same. Delayed flights, travel stress and bad food could perhaps be eased by co-suffering along with a friend. A minimal investment could greatly improve the flying experience for airlines

Are any sites that I might be missing utilizing social tools in innovative and brand-enhancing ways? Also, what other benchmark service industries are doing a better job than airlines at bringing friends and followers together?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Article Info
Posted by: Steve Peck
Thinking About: Digital / Interactive / Strategy / Technology
Location: New York City
Website: http://stevepeck.net
Twitter: @stevenpeck
Comments
  1. Caprice Yu

    Co-suffering is a great phrase… and this would make air travel possibly enjoyable!

    Virgin America currently has a chat function and an inflight game system that lets you interact with others on the flight. It seems like that’s a start, though this takes it to the next level. Imagine if this system was linked with an online dating site like Match.com too…. possibilities are endless.

    • Steve Peck

      Hey Caprice, nice build. I agree, there are tons of ways to incorporate functionality and partnerships into this type of idea. It will be interesting to see when (if?) and how these things might affect human behaviors in the future.

  2. Tim Geoghegan

    Great idea.

    Barring any odd security issues, there’s no reason it couldn’t connect to a social profile to see if a friend is on that flight. Also, when people fly single, airline reps sometimes purposely seat a man and a woman together if they request it. So why not offer that as an option as well? It likely wouldn’t be used too often…but the PR it would generate would be worth the cost of implementation.

    It’s just another example of how making certain brand experience innovations can become it’s own advertising. As ‘advertising’ evolves, part of it will evolve by seeping directly into client’s infrastructure. Or as Alex Bogusky called it, getting ‘Baked In.’

  3. Ciaran McCarthy

    Great idea Steve.

    Tim, that’s an interesting fact about men and women being seated together. You could offer it as a Virgin Atlantic in-flight dating service.

    When you log in with your facebook account the app reads your relationship status and gives you the option to opt in on the in-flight dating service.
    “We see you’re single. Want to meet someone on this flight?”

    It shows you the other single men / women on the plane who have also opted in on the service. You can view some basic info on them pulled from their facebook page i.e photo, age, where they’re from, what they do. You make your choice and book the seat beside them.

    It would definitely be an interesting way of spending a flight and getting to know someone free of phones and other distractions.

  4. Jared Elms

    Someone was listening, Steve. In beta now: planely.com

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