Socializing the airline booking process – Germanwings follows Alaska Airlines’ lead

It’s now a well known fact that social media is revolutionizing travel distribution, as we shared in our recent Top 10 Case Study pack. While Delta Air Lines was the first to introduce booking on Facebook almost two years ago, it was Malaysian Airline’s  MHBuddy initiative which went a step further and allowed passengers to sit next to their Facebook friends (or avoid them!).

In late 2012, Alaska Airlines’ FlyingSocial became the first to allow you to click on a map with your friends’ profile pics on it and click on them to book a ticket to their city, as I’ve shared in a number of my keynote presentations.

Germanwings’ FriendsFlight app

Now, with the help of our friends over at SparkLoft Media, Germanwings has introduced an app that allows you to book ticket based on your friends location in Facebook, through an app called FriendsFlight. The application, which lives on Facebook, sorts Germanwings airfare results by price, geographical distance or Facebook friends.

Integrating the social graph in booking

This app is part of a trend where airlines are socializing the booking process. It started with something simple Delta did like allowing the booking process, and it’s now evolved to what Germanwings and Alaska Airlines’ are doing – book by clicking on your friend’s face!

Gone are the days when you sort by price or schedule. Now, you just log in to Facebook. And this is part of the trend where the travelers’ social graph is being integrated into the booking process – ultimately reducing price sensitivity by introducing decision factors other than just the fares. And this is just the beginning. We’re likely to see many more such sophisticated, and hopefully successful, attempts by airlines to drive revenue from social media in 2012.

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