Air Baltic's SeatBuddy: Relax or Work

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If you ever thought your seat neighbor on that recent long-haul flight might not have been the ideal choice, if it had been up to you, here’s the solution: Air Baltic SeatBuddy. 

The Latvian carrier is trying to do something to make flying a more pleasant experience even when it comes to passenger interaction. The carrier’s passengers can register for the SeatBuddy service and mark different categories. If you choose “relax” you indicate that you really would not like to talk that much and would not mind a person next to you with the same habits. There is also a “work” icon, which also means you don’t want to be disturbed. If you think that a flight is a great opportunity to find new business, the option to click would be “business talk”. Of course, the system only works if multiple passengers register.

The profile will be linked to a specific booking, but is applied at each flight. Air Baltic says the service is initially free of charge, but it is “exploring its future commercial potential”.

A new source of ancillary revenues? Sure, if you can sell an exit row or an aisle seat for a premium, why not pay extra for a neighbor that shuts up. The only problem might arise when it turns out that neighbour really is in talk mood this time in spite of his or her usual preferences. Is there going to be a money-back guarantee? An insurance? If you think that is hard to imagine, think again. After all: Air Baltic even sells cars on board.

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