Launched as a new service on Latvian airline airBaltic, SeatBuddy allows passengers to select a number of criteria that links them up with other passengers that interested in the same type of flight. Using technology developed by Satisfly, passengers first select the type of mood that they want during the flight. Different flight moods include sitting next to people that want to talk business, people that simply want to chat casually, people that want to be left alone in order to work and people that want to fall asleep during the flight. Ideally, anyone that wants to catch a power nap while the plane is in the air won’t have to put up with the constant chatter of someone in the seat next to them.
For anyone that wants to talk during the flight, there are a number of criteria to select in order to match up with an ideal seatmate. This includes age, languages spoken, education level, similar hobbies or similar work experience.
In addition, users can choose to connect their Facebook profile to pull some information into the Seatbuddy system, thus allowing the software to identify similarities in passenger interests. For anyone interested in connecting with a professional contact on the plane, the service allows users to connect a LinkedIn account. In addition, other supported social networks include Twitter, Flickr, TripIt, Google+ and Foursquare.
In addition to including this information on the airBaltic site prior to a flight, passengers can also specify their food preference during the flight in addition to mentioning special needs like the required use of a wheelchair or the addition of a small infant. According to airBaltic, all the information collected is kept in a secure location and all connections are made anonymously prior to the flight. Prior to the launch of SeatBuddy on AirBaltic, Dutch airline KLM launched a similar service that allows passengers to check out the Facebook and LinkedIn profiles of other passengers prior to choosing a seat assignment.