THE CASE STUDY OF KLM MEET AND SEAT
City and State
THE CASE STUDY OF KLM MEET AND SEAT
Flying is regarded, as the safest mode of transport and with the continued globalization of the world, there has been a surge in passenger numbers over the years. This has resulted in the growth of the aviation industry with numerous airlines available to meet the rising demand for air travel. While there are high-cost airlines in various countries, there are also low-cost carriers as well. Therefore, the cutthroat competition in the skies has forced most of these airlines to become creative in order to attract and retain customers. Predictably, most of them have embraced the use of technology in a bid to create a competitive edge over their peers. On February 3, 2012, KLM launched a social networking service that manages to connect people with existing Facebook or Twitter accounts and who share similar interests during a flight. This innovation is a popular way of enabling people to interact thus it has increased the nature of social traveling leading to passengers having a better traveling experience.
Meet and Seat is the use of the internet to match a person’s online profile from his/her social networking account to that of another passenger. The initial step is for the user to locate the seat map on the KLM website. Afterwards, one has to login using a LinkedIn or Facebook account and chooses the details to be shared with other users. Consequently, the user fills in the details of the journey and once the specifications of other passengers appear, a choice can then be made (Serusi, 2012, p. 1). By selecting from any available seats on the airplane thirty minutes before the departure time, one can expect to be seated next to the preferred individual. Therefore, passengers are able to enjoy their flights with the possibility of creating long lasting friendships.
Thus, this form of social traveling has increased the level of interest in KLM flights. In addition, it has increased the flying experience because people are able to fly with those they consider familiar. Essentially, whenever a person goes online to make a booking, he/she may bump into a friend who is on the same flight. Naturally, they would want to be seated next to each other and during the flight, they can catch up. In this way, even distant friends have a chance of meeting and this may reduce the stress of a lonely, long-haul flight. Consequently, the rate of suspicion has also been minimized. In an era whereby the threat of terrorism is at an all time high, it helps to know the background of any passenger in a specific flight. This has offered some relative comfort to fellow passengers as they do not need to worry about the identities of others. In fact, having such prior knowledge has increased the belief that passengers can and have enjoyed safe trips. Similarly, this service offers a wonderful opportunity for people to meet potential employers (Serusi, 2012, p.1). Executives can look forward to meeting potential investors thereby achieving what perhaps could be their life-long dream.
In this media age, celebrities and other public figures are hugely popular. They generate unprecedented publicity and in the process gain many fans both locally and internationally. It is always a .source of pride and an opportunity to have bragging rights to fellow friends when a fan gets a chance to meet any of these entertainers. Meet and Seat is one such platform that a person may use to not only meet but also spend some time with a celebrity of choice in a flight that is bound to be memorable. Moreover, since there is no limit as to the gender of the preferred passenger to seat with, there is a likelihood of people falling in love. This has always been a strong emotion and one that has been known to connect strangers. Hence, the use of Meet and Seat can be an amazing avenue for the start of a relationship that would lead to marriage later on. Definitely, this is exciting news for the many fans who dream of such chance encounters.
Alternatively, the setup of Meet and Seat is such that it does not halt online interaction even if a person does not get to seat next to a passenger of choice. Rather, it facilitates continuous online communication. Hence, passengers on the same flight can share information about their flying experience in real time through other social networking sites. They can even discuss interesting things like the type of in-flight food to order or make arrangements about where to meet once they arrive at their destination. Others can talk about their favorite football game or the latest news in politics. All this can be done from the comfort of their separate seats and this is sure to make up for a wonderful flying experience. The same applies to enabling people who speak the same language to have an opportunity to dialogue. This will effectively kill the boredom of sitting quietly next to a foreigner whose lack of communication can be blamed on language barrier.
Additionally, there is a welcome financial perspective to this service. The recent global recession plunged world economies into turmoil and set in motion a series of hard economic times that have forced people to operate on shoestring budgets. As a result, no one would like to spend even a dollar if he/she can save it. Under this new KLM service, passengers can be able to arrange for transport before a flight. They may organize to board the same taxi to the airport and split the cost while being acquainted with one another. Likewise, they may opt to use the same method once they alight at their destination if they are headed to the same event or geographical location. In this way, they will get a chance of extending their conversations while paying less for their road transport. It even offers them greater flexibility and a longer talk time aside from giving them the well needed privacy that was absent during the flight.
Normally, there are all kinds of travelers on any given flight (Gottdiener, 2001, p. 116). These include those who do it for business purposes, holiday goers, work-related travelers, shoppers and even those who are headed back to school. It is not surprising to have people attending the same event traveling together. Obviously, if the event is not a one-day affair, accommodation costs have to be factored in. During peak times, these rooms may be relatively higher than usual thereby putting a strain on one’s budget. However, with the enormous potential of Meet and Seat, people headed to a similar function can mutually agree to share a hotel room and split the cost as well. Furthermore, they can use that opportunity to discuss and explore the issues arising from the event and intellectually challenge each other on the same. Such healthy debates are bound to improve their argumentative skills and improve their information gathering techniques.
As a socializing site, its power to connect people is not limited to flights alone. It can facilitate meetings for refreshments before or after flights while providing KLM with crucial information on a person’s schedules. Since KLM will be aware of the dates of birth of their customers, they can randomly pick which passengers to surprise with gifts during their next flight in celebration of their birthdays and this will be a fun way to entertain them. Even wedding days and other notable celebrations will be considered. Such actions always receive a positive reception from the customers and they end up recommending the airline to their friends. Whenever they fly KLM, they can then expect to be met with these acts of generosity. Obviously, that will be a highlight of their flying experiences.
In addition, Meet and Seat will help to reduce the rate of stereotyping people. Most times, travelers on a plane are strangers to one another. Since it is their first time to meet each other, some are bound to judge others based on their race, mode of dressing or even their language. Usually, these judgments have derogatory connotations since they typecast an individual depending on their assumptions. Even without speaking aloud, sometimes these negative perceptions can be detected from their body language and cause a lot of discomfort to the aggrieved party (Mcgarty, Yzerbyt and Spears, 2002, p. 3). However, with the advent of social seating, the information is available online and one can sieve through the profile and know the background of other passengers. He/she can also find out their educational as well as their professional background. Likewise, the marital status and family ties are clearly displayed. Therefore, this makes the passengers to be well informed about one another and thus reducing the cases of making assumptions.
In conclusion, KLM has appropriately matched the intense interest in social networking with a creative product to transform the air travel industry. Meet and Seat has generated a lot of excitement among passengers since it has managed to connect people from all sorts of backgrounds. Consequently, the future of aviation has been redefined and customers can look forward to a fantastic flying experience.
Gottdiener, M 2001, Life in the air: surviving the new culture of air travel, Lanham, Md, Rowman & Littlefield.
Mcgarty, C, Yzerbyt, V & Spears, R 2002, Stereotypes as explanations: the formation of meaningful beliefs about social groups, London, Cambridge University Press.
Serusi, M 2012, KLM Meet and Seat-social seating for airlines: live and exclusive from Amsterdam, viewed 18 Feb 2014, <http://simpliflying.com/2012/klm-meet-and-seat-social-seating-for-airlines-live-and-exclusive-from-amsterdam-meetseat/>