‘Seatmate’ selection could be available on your next flight

Dutch airline KLM is working on a tool that will give passengers the chance to choose their seatmate by linking travellers Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to their check information.


‘Meet and Seat’ will allow travellers checking in to choose their neighbour through online networking sites.


This idea allows passengers to pick people with similar interests to sit next to them.


Passengers will also be able to use these networking sites to choose their neighbour based on looks and even job description.


The matchmaking service, which is currently still in development is set to launch early next year, and further details are being kept under wrap.


An opt-out option will be available for passengers who prefer to ignore their neighbour and enjoy entertainment through their headphones; this will mean that they don’t have to share their personal information with others.


However for those who do choose to join in, their neighbour may not be what they expected, making their flight a long one. For instance their neighbour may turn out to be less attractive than first thought or they insist on talking business for the entire journey.


KLM airlines is not the first to spark controversy and harness social media for its passengers.


Malaysian Airlines are planning to release a Facebook service, allowing passengers to see whether any of their friends are booked on the same flight or plan to visit the same destination at the same time.


Making headlines in 2006 were AirTroductions, which offered an online dating service for frequent flyers, allowing them the chance to meet other travellers. However the company have since closed down.


Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

Thomas Cook to expand into the Middle East

Debt hit UK tour operator Thomas Cook plans to expand it’s brand across the Middle East next year, bidding to be the second largest tour operator in the Middle East

Al Futtaim Travel confirmed that they will launch Thomas Cook Holiday shops in Dubai as well as on line booking channels and expand the operation over the Arabian peninsular over the next three years.

Samantha Watson, marketing and sales manager, Al-Futtaim Travel said Thomas Cook would become a serious contender in the market to Emirates Holidays – the tour operating arm of Emirates Airlines.

The news comes as Thomas Cook confirmed it is to close 200 – or almost one in six of its 1,300 travel agents in Britain, resulting in up to 1,000 job loses as part of a cost-saving UK restructure plan.

The embattled tour operator was forced to arrange a £200million credit facility with 17 bank lenders as it seeks to recover from an annual net loss of £521 million.

Watson said Middle East consumers would still have confidence in the Thomas Cook brand despite the company’s recent financial troubles taking into account that Thomas Cook’s 150-year history has weathered many economic global crisis.

Thomas Cook blamed poor sales on a series of unforeseen events such as the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud and uprisings in the Arab world. The tour operator said it plans to ramp up holiday packages to the UAE in 2012 in an attempt to offset losses caused by political unrest in the region.