KLM | The Social Dutchman

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The genesis of this post, my first ever, was a tweet to me by Rohit Rao, known as @TheAeroBlogger on my favourite Social Networking site, Twitter.

I would talk about Twitter on another post, but this one is all about my passion, my passion for Airplanes, Traveling & Social Media, & my recent experience of all of that converging into one wholesome package.

I was traveling on Business to US in June/July 2012 & @KLM happened to be my 31st airline (did the math). KLM was not my primary choice, in fact I wanted to fly its Sky Team partner, Air France for the routing, but boy was I glad at the end of it all!
I had read a lot about the “truly” social seating features that KLM had introduced, for the first time ever in the world of commercial aviation through its initiative known as “Meet and Seat” & when I realized that my flights would have those features while checking in, the social media guy in me took the front seat (not literally, premium economy requires you to pay more).
After filling in all relevant details, I was surprised to find only 2 gentlemen using the service (DEL-AMS route), one through Facebook & the other through Linked In. & unfortunately for me, none of the hot chicks on the flight decided to bother themselves with it (like this un-official video below would have you believe). Shockingly enough I was the only user of the service on AMS-IAD, & while returning from JFK to DEL via AMS, I encountered no users of Meet & Seat.

Although, its an exciting development, the concept of Social Seating has been discussed for a while now (Look at this coverage of Meet & Seat launch by @SimpliFlying), & other specialized players in the space like Satisfly have more detailed features, allowing better matching & flexibility to travelers.
Being a Marketer, my left brain & my right brain, both tell me its the marketing stupid. If i recall correctly, there was no special promotion on KLM’s homepage for the feature (unlike airBaltic promoting its satisfly features) & there is still none. Even the check-in page had little mention, I first sighted a RHS dynamic banner while filling in my API (Advance Passenger Information), some might say that’s appropriate given meet & seat is an optional additional feature, I would highly disagree.

When you have an exclusive service, which is available on just 1 other airline, out of possibly 1000s of other airlines in the world, WHY WOULD YOU NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT?

KLM, arguably has one of the world’s best social media response teams, spread across regions, on Facebook & Twitter, interacting & delighting travellers every minute, KLM’s Marketing team was behind this fantastic Surprise campaign, they have a gamut of helpful & entertaining mobile apps, but I find it astounding that when it comes to Meet & Seat, there is very little noise generated by them. In this era of increased social connectivity & interaction, Meet & Seat could have easily become the talking point among travelers, some of them might have even paid a premium to be on KLM because of it.

The only logical explanation that I could think for under promoting is that the service is in beta, & KLM is in the process of adding more features & capabilities. To that, I would just say 3 words, Look at Google.

My experience on KLM was fantastic & the cabin crew was most friendly & helpful in all four legs of the trip, I would fly with them again for those Big MD-11 windows (although the IFE was crappy), for the wonderful hub at Schiphol, for the amazing roof at Schiphol, making you see aircraft fly in & out, & for its wonderful & courteous staff, alas Meet & Seat if promoted well, could have been another solid reason.

PS: This post was coined “The Social Dutchman” by me after realizing KLM is more than just a “Flying Dutchman” & I hope they live up to this recognition.

This Post is also featured on AeroBlogger, as a slightly altered Guest Post.

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9 comments

  1. Kushal

    Clearly one of the friendly ones in the sky- love their blue smiles and was super one also working on this brands for over 2 years n look fwd to getting a taste of their new services soon

    Like

  2. Pingback: Top 7 Aviation News & Analysis Resources on the Web « Vishal Mehra & Co.
  3. Vandana

    Your flight experience can be greatly influenced by the person sitting next to you. Its great that KLM understands this…A very interesting initiative!!

    Like

  4. Rickie Khosla

    I must say, I was horrified when I first got to know about this initiative (I think for Air France several months ago). I actually pictued a plane full of passengers who had all found like-minded co-travellers….imagine all the incessant, nonstop yapping that would result! Personally, I have never felt even the tiniest inclination to chat with the stranger travelling next to me even during a 15-hour flight! 😀

    http://reekycoleslaw.com/

    Like

    • Vishal Mehra

      Rickie it’s not at all as bad as it seems. Infact let me turn around your thinking, Imagine yourself sitting next to a horrible whiny co-passenger with no matching interests for a 15 hour, heck even a 5-6 hour flight. There are advantages and disadvantages of all innovations, but good things usually stick around 🙂 Thanks for sharing your views

      Like

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