For all you super-intrusive air travelers who bombard your seatmates with questions like, "What's that you're reading?" to someone who's clearly reading, or "Did you know that the DC-10, the plane we're flying on, has a range of 3,800 miles with a full passenger load?", Dutch air carrier KLM is introducing a way to be just as intrusive, if not a little more discreet — now you can browse other passengers' Facebook and LinkedIn profiles before a flight and request to sit next to the person who seems most receptive to a recitation of the one-act play you've written.
New York Times aviation blogger Nicola Roberts tries spinning KLM's latest gambit in a positive way by suggesting that now, instead of sitting next to a mouth-breather who's clandestinely looking at an airport-purchased copy of Hustler, you can choose to cozy up to "an Italian chemical engineer fluent in Dutch, English, Spanish and Portuguese," or some other person whose resume makes them seem socially impressive. Business Insider, however, correctly worries that the new meet-and-ambush feature will make it easier for men to sit next to attractive women who they'll then harass for 8-10 hours.
KLM explains that its "Meet & Seat" feature is totally optional and that passengers on participating routes leaving from Amsterdam to New York, São Paulo, or San Francisco can choose how much of their profile is visible to other passengers, but the airline doesn't mention anything about the possibility of rejecting would-be armrest buddies who choose to sit right next to you on a semi-empty flight. Shouldn't there be a rejection option so that passengers can keep tabs on each other without having to sit next to anyone unsavory? Or will passengers just have to make their "Meet & Seat" profiles super abrasive? As in, "If you sit next to me I will probably vomit on you because I suffer from extreme motion sickness. Stay the fuck away."
KLM Introduces A New Way To Be Creepy On An Airplane [Business Insider]
Window, Aisle, Seatmate? [NY Times]