Hoping to ease the nightmare of flying next to a crashing bore, a company in New York will match like-minded passengers to help make the time fly.
Inspired by a flight where he found himself happily seated next to Miss Texas, company founder Peter Shankman says he set up AirTroductions to give travelers a chance to choose their seatmates.
"It is for anyone who travels who does not want to have to deal with the psychological hell of sitting 2 inches from someone you don’t know for eight hours," he said.
To use AirTroductions, travelers register online, listing personal details in a profile. When they post their traveling itineraries, the registry provides information on other people taking the same flights.
The registry is free until a user opts to contact a fellow traveler for a $5 fee. Typically, they meet in an airport, where they can arrange to sit together, Shankman said. Nearly 4,500 people have enrolled, although only about 60 have made matches since the registry kicked off last fall, he said.
Julia Filz said she signed up because she’s a nervous flyer who wants a seatmate to distract her. "If I’m sitting next to somebody and I’m talking to them, I don’t even know if we’re taking off or landing," said Filz, who works in Baltimore.
Besides, she added, the system might help avoid a repeat of her worst seatmate experience — seated beside a woman who was very drunk first thing in the morning.
By Ellen Wulfhorst