By Shashank Nigam

After Delta Airlines pioneered the booking engine on Facebook, Malaysia Airlines has become the second major airline to introduce booking, and also allow passengers to check-in and choose to sit next to a friend, using Facebook! I had shared this example in my keynote last week in San Francisco, and after receiving multiple emails, sharing the screenshots here too.

 

The application, called MHBuddy, is disruptive not in the fact that it allows booking or check-in on Facebook, but because it ties in the users’ social graph at each step too. For example, during booking, a box at the bottom shows which other friends of yours will be at your destination at the time you’re there. That’s truly value adding to the customer.

 

Moreover, if your friends used the same application to book the same flight, you can see where they are seated and either sit next to them – or even change your flight if you’d like to avoid them! Now, there’s one good upsell opportunity for the folks at Malaysia Airlines!

While very advanced intelligent seating systems like Satisfly have been around for a couple of years, the real value of MHBuddy is that it’s integrated with Facebook.

Here are some screenshots of what the application looks like. Give it a go next time you’re flying Malaysia Airlines too and send us your feedback, here or on Twitter (@simpliflying). I’ve also included below a Prezi that explains how the system works, courtesy Hisham from MH.

CATEGORISED UNDER: Revenue

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  • Sharonsavic

    Awesome improvement! This is what we call “utilizing available opportunities” that will make life easier for many.

  • Awesome step – although I’m not sure if it’ll become a success story – but definitely worse a try…

  • Anonymous

    I like the Satisfly model better. Here is why:

    What are the chances that you are travelling with an FB friend on the same flight? (I fly a lot and its never happened once)
    Of these people on the same flight, how many of them use, or are aware of the service?
    Of these people on the same flight and use the service, what chances they are in the same class? (chances are they may be in economy but many fares these days don’t offer advanced seating)
    Given that you met the criteria above, then on a given flight, what are the chances that there are two adjacent seats that can accomodate both friends?
    Who gets the centre seat?

    The Satisfly model suffers some of the same constraints (except for #1), but does not require that you already know the person, only share similar desires.

  • @bsweigert I agree, connecting the social digital world with air travel doesn’t sound like a smooth process when you consider operational and situational constraints. That is why Satisfly focuses on a robust system and procedure integration, in order to meet travellers’ expectations.

    Separate note – I’m satisfied on a personal level, because in 2009 I foresaw airlines embracing F-commerce (http://airline.satisfly.com/doc/SATISFLY-FFP09.pdf). And now my prediction is coming true.
    I think more airlines will try to connect the dots and draw a meaningful picture in between social and travel, with or without Facebook.

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