Social Check-In for Airlines
The other day I went to London. During the online check-in it occurred to me that it would be pretty cool to see if I have any friends on the plane. In fact my friend was also on the plane and we wanted to sit next to each other. We had to call and ask what seats to take.
Extending the check-in process socially would allow you to make your flight a lot more fun. Having fun on the plane should rub off on the brand of the airline. Great service is the brand.
One thing is to connect with friends but you could make your information public and ask people to take a seat next to you. You could post that you want to talk about certain topics (quantum physics, Lady Gaga or SEO) and people with similar interest could select a seat next to me. This would also create visibility for the airline in your social graph.
Making the experience social will help the customer and give an edge to the airline. Much like foursquare but ahead of time so we can coordinate our activities. I believe that in future social checkin applications will allow us to manage almost every activity. However this means that all your personal information needs to be in a single or interconnected system. This hints at the possibility of one huge system that dominates the whole online landscape. Right now we are just taking first steps.
Image credit François Roche