Despite questions about its practicality, KLM is moving ahead with its social-seating initiative, with the implementation to take place on Facebook and LinkedIn, the airline says.
A spokesperson for the Netherlands-based airline, which merged with Air France, says its social-seating tool will be launched on the two social-networking sites at "the beginning" of 2012, although a specific date hasn't been set because the project is still under development.
Putting the tool on Twitter is not in the launch plans, the spokesperson says.
The idea behind social seating is that passengers would be able to select seat-mates based on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, but exactly how this would work and what fees it might entail have not been detailed.
Will both parties have to agree on sitting next to one another?
Will the tool be used as a dating mechanism or for one passenger to hit on another?
Can you find a new job by sitting next to a potential hiring manager?
Or will your seat-mate spam you with unsolicited sales pitches while you are trying to get some work done on Wi-Fi?
The fact that KLM will include LinkedIn in the airline's plans indicates that going after business travelers who might desire social seating is part of the mix.
Many travel companies are trying to get more "social," but how large a market there is for selecting a kindred spirit to sit next to on your next trip, remains to be seen.
KLM, which has been out-front with its social media efforts, would be a very early mover in tying air travel to social network profiles.
However, it is not the first-mover.
Malaysia Airlines has a Facebook application, MHbuddy, created with SITA Labs, which enables Enrich members to book a trip with friends using MHbuddy, view photos and seat choices of friends flying on the same flight, and then selecting preferred seats on Facebook.
You can also use the MHbuddy app to find social networking friends in your destination city and share your itineraries on Facebook.