Looking For Someone Special In Seat 34B?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Okay, I may get a little distracted watching bad movies on long flights, but there have been times when I’ve met some really interesting people and had some great conversations to fill in the time.

I have also thought to myself how planes do miss out on the charm that trains have with respect to the common social area a la the food car. Right? Think back to Before Sunrise or basically any Hitchcock film, and there’s a scene where the characters relax over a glass of bubbly while the European countryside flies by in the background.

(On a sidenote, I suggest that the bulk of this problem is basically space. Save for the A330’s in the world that boast a bar and plenty of walking room, most planes’ common space is limited to that not-so-enticing region located outside the lavatories and in front of the kitchen. Nothing will make you want to hunker down back in your window seat then the mixture of smells emanating from a freshly used bathroom and reheated vegetarian lasagna stewing in a microwave. I suggest any conversations take place in the friendly confines in the area located between coach and first class.)

To address the problem of solitary flights, there’s a new site called Planely.com that seeks to connect travelers flying on the same plane. Worried that the Adam Sandler flick is probably not going to keep your attention all the way to Frankfurt? Sign up with Planely and guarantee meeting someone for a conversation during your flight. Who knows what will come of it? Business opportunity, dinner plans, awkward encounter with your boss?

Per CEO and founder Nick Martin, the site was created out of his own boredom from frequent travel.

I used to do a lot of traveling in a former life. Most of it alone. I’d say 80% of the time I was bored. There’s only so much reading, working, sleeping and watching movies one person can do. Every now and then I got into a conversation with the person next to me and found it totally transformed the experience.

Even when the conversation wasn’t that great it still made the flight better so my thought was (a) couldn’t this happen more often and (b) how could I increase the odds of a good conversation over an average one?

Online introductions in advance of the flight was, of course, the way to go and Planely was born!

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