Website reconnects fliers who forgot to swap numbers
In-flight routine is invariably the same for most of us.
You find your seat, you wrestle your carry-on into the overhead bin, exchange your headphones for ones that work and prepare to block out everything and everyone for the next six hours.
But then BAM! A goddess (or a hunk) straight from heaven’s salon slides into the seat next to you. Finally, after 250,000 kilometers, you’ve hit the jackpot.
The conversation flows like Champagne (if you’re in First) and your jokes are apparently the funniest ever heard.
You land, you go your separate ways, and as you settle into your hotel bathtub that evening, fantasizing about your future together, you get hit by your second thunderbolt -- you didn’t exchange details. FML.
If this has been you, then dry those tears. Recork the whiskey and return the ice cream to the deep freeze. A 31-year-old Australian feels your pain, and he has built a website -- www.wemetonaplane.com.
A chance to reconnect
Will Scully-Power, managing director and co-founder of Datarati, a marketing analytics company in Sydney, wants to give people who hit it off in the air a chance to reconnect back on the ground.
Scully-Power met his girlfriend, Maia, on a plane, and it was the thought of missing out that prompted his new venture. “What if I didn't connect with her? How would I find her? I couldn't be alone,” he said.
“I wondered how many other people around the world have met someone on a plane that they are trying to re-connect with.”
It turns out quite a few.
According to Google stats, there are 4,400 searches for the phrase “met on a plane” every month.
The new website works like this: users search for details such as flight number, date, origin and/or destination to see if any existing stories match their own. If not, they are invited to share their story on the site and on Twitter and Facebook.
If you recognize a story you can reply, adding your own details and sharing your Facebook URL. It’s then up to the story poster to “friend” you.
But not a dating site
And then possibly marry you a few months down the line? “Ha! Who knows?” replied Scully-Power, dismissing the contention that it’s a dating site with a twist.
“Today the site has been designed to facilitate the re-connection of those chance encounters.”
Combine Scully-Power’s site with the recent reports that Dutch carrier KLM is flirting with the idea of allowing passengers to use Facebook to select their seat buddies, and it appears that flying is no longer merely a way to travel.
Last year Malaysia Airlines also launched MHBuddy -- allowing passengers to check in using Facebook and to view where their Facebook friends are sitting.
This idea that social media and online sites can be used to influence travel decisions is ready to take off, suggested Scully-Power.
“As we build our database of travelers, we are obviously capturing a large amount of data. Flights, times, origins, destinations. This information can be used for more targeted and behavioral based marketing.
“Think mystery flights. Think flights designed specifically for meeting new people.”
So far, so free
No user will ever be charged a fee on www.wemetonaplane.com; instead Scully-Power is looking for a partner airline with which he will roll out these new revenue-generating initiatives.
And the site’s not finished yet either.
“Our phase one objective is to drive traffic to the site by building awareness,” he said. “We are planning more features and capabilities in phase two, specifically around social media sharing and ways for users to connect with each other.
"We also have iPhone, iPad and Android apps in the development pipeline, which will bring about new revenue generating opportunities.”
The best bit? Even if he splits up with his girlfriend, a personal rehab trainer, the site will go on. “The site is designed to help others … at least you'll never have to ask yourself 'What if?’ for the rest of your life. It’s a 100 percent no-brainer.”
Alternatively, just make sure you exchange contact details.