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SALT LAKE CITY -- Raise your hand if you have been here:
You're boarding your flight home after a long vacation or a stressful business trip, and all you want to do is relax on your eight-hour flight home. You are ready to take a seat and pass the time in whatever solitary mode you most enjoy, avoiding uncomfortable exchanges with a complete stranger at all costs.
Then, you take your seat next to the most beautiful social butterfly you've ever seen. The second you take your seat, the conversation gears start turning, and you're far too polite to decline his or her intrusions into your personal life.
Dutch airline KLM is looking to change that.
KLM's Meet & Seat program utilizes Facebook and LinkedIn to allow potential travelers to "meet" their seatmate before booking their flight.
Those who decide to use the feature are given the option to upload their social media profiles to the airline's booking system, and view others who have done the same. Flyers can then see the seat map and choose a seat based on the profile information of their seatmate.
Travelers are able to see the interests of their prospective flying buddy, including what languages they speak, and the chance that they are attending similar events in the future.
This means that others can choose to sit next to you, as well. While it isn't possible to refuse to sit next to a certain individual, you can choose a different seat up to 48 hours before the flight departs. Profile-based seating selections are available 90 days before flight.
Privacy concerns are addressed on KLM's website in a section highlighting the new program.
"KLM will not use your profile details for any other purpose than Meet & Seat, nor will we share your details with third parties," the statement reads. "Your details will be removed automatically 48 hours after your flight has departed."
Currently, Meet & Seat is limited to one passenger KLM flights between Amsterdam and New York, San Francisco and Sao Paulo. The company is working on making the feature available to more flights in the near future.
Until that time comes, be sure to keep your headphones in your carry-on.
Image Credit: KLM