Customised Flight Seats
Suggesting the flight seat that best suits your personality, or mood.
This is a thought from What if they…, a collection focused on small ideas and improvements to already great apps, advertising, and experiences. Sometimes it’s better to just get it out, instead of every day thinking “Wouldn’t it be great…”
Taking flights have never been so accessibly cheap, and it gets even more popular each day. Everyone knows that. And even though people are flying elsewhere more and more often, the experience that they have during those flights are never the same, but mainly, not always the best.
Spending a couple minutes thinking about it, I came up with 4 main reasons that affects one's flight experience:
- Flight-company-side mistakes or changes: obviously, the less last-minute changes, the best.
- Passenger-side mistakes: leaving something behind, being it at home or at the hotel, always generates the hugest pain and stress during a trip — mainly if the passport is the one that’s missing.
- Overall flight services experience: this is probably what most people notice difference between companies. The quality of the meal, snacks, brand of the beer, ice on drinks, friendly and helpful staff, usb charging ports, wifi during the flight, and even the free earphones offered. These apparently small things might be the ones that help a passenger decide between one company and another.
- Other passengers sitting nearby: this contributes mostly to the negative experience of passengers, apparently. It’s more likely that you’ll rant about a bad-behaving passenger rather than emphasising how fun and interesting was a passenger that you met on your last flight.
So, this text is about the last topic above. At this point you must have already noticed what could be changed in the system, right? If not, that’s it: organise passengers’ seats by personality.
That simple! People are different, they behave differently, they belong to different cultures, nationalities, and have a different background, so why would you group them “randomly” — basically relying just on where each passenger thinks he/she might wanna seat — in a place where they'll stay up to 12 hours or more?
Now you might be thinking that this is impossible. You can’t group people so perfectly that they will all enjoy the other passengers that sit near them. And you are probably right, chances are that this is not likely to happen. But, simply ignoring this great opportunity will definitely not help at all either.
So, at the moment that you reserve and purchase your tickets, What If They offered a short form for you to fill, to determine where you’d fit better in the flight? Questions could embrace anything from the passenger’s personality, to seat preferences. Talkative, quiet, first time traveler, experienced traveler, sleepy, the travel purpose, window/aisle preference, drinker, flights afraid, languages that you can speak — everything to describe someone’s personality and experiences that are meaningful to this moment. Of course, this form should be presented to each passenger that’s taking the flight — so it should group family members or friends together, and still try to conform with everyone’s likes — and be completely optional, since some passengers might wanna stick with a fixed seat.
Technically speaking, it’d require a sort of intelligence to sort all of the passengers in the best way possible, and the final seat would only be shown to the passenger at the moment of the check-in, and until so the passenger could only check out which seat is being suggested to him.
This also leaves opened a possibility to even meet the passenger near you before the flight, by showing the passenger’s personality to the passengers next to him. Of course, provided with the passenger’s consent.
KLM Airlines even offer a service related to this, already. It's called the KLM Meet & Seat.
With Meet & Seat you can view other passengers’ Facebook or LinkedIn profile details and see where they’ll be sitting — long before your flight leaves the ground.
This, alongside the seat organisation based on personality, should be adopted by every single airline company already.
The benefits from this simple yet great improvement are huge. If you wanna meet new people and spend the flight talking, you’d be sitting next to the right people. If you are more of a sleepy guy who wants to rest before starting your next journey, you know it'll already be less likely to be bothered by those sitting next to you.
Meet new people, share drinks, help new travellers, share tips and trip itineraries… There’s definitely a better place to seat other than beside someone who might not be interested in even talking to you.
Customised experience. That what we’re all about nowadays, aren’t we? So what’s your excuse, flight companies, to not improve your passengers’ flight experience?
Written during an eleven-hour flight. I wasn’t uncomfortable with the people around me, probably because all passengers nearby were sleeping. But I know that many people experience those bad situations, and there could be a better flight experience.