Virgin America has launched a new social networking service that could help passengers find a new job or a new client at 35,000 feet.
After downloading a 'geo-aware' app that connects professionals together based on proximity, and linking their Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts, travelers can begin schmoozing with potential employers or prospective clients on the same flight.
In addition to making a virtual introduction, flyers can also seal the deal by sending their new connection a drink or snack via the aircraft's seat-to-seat delivery and touchscreen entertainment system, RED.
It's the same system that was pitched as an in-flight flirting service last year -- or, as Sir Richard Branson put it, a way to "get lucky."
The service taps into the fleet's Gogo In-Flight wifi network, the app Here on Biz, and social networking accounts, notably LinkedIn.
But Virgin America isn't the first to roll out an in-flight social networking program. Dutch carrier KLM was one of the earliest pioneers in this domain when they launched their Meet & Seat program which likewise allows flyers to share their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles with fellow passengers.
Both KLM and Virgin America services allow users to manage their privacy settings and control what profile details are visible to others.
Similarly, Etihad Airways also partnered with LinkedIn in a service that charts a user's LinkedIn contacts on a map with the aim of reminding the member of their potential networking reach while on the road. Users can search for their contacts based on geography, industry and first or second-degree connection and send them direct messages from the same platform.
Until July, guests on domestic Virgin America flights can download the Here on Biz app for free.
The service was launched after the ability to connect with other travellers in-flight emerged as a frequent request in surveys among business travellers.