Promoting its new super-cheap Los Angeles to Las Vegas direct route, Virgin America has debuted “Seat-to-Seat Delivery,” a feature that lets travelers send unsolicited drinks or food using the in-flight seatback system.
Airline President Sir Richard Branson can’t help but get a little cheeky in the video explaining the service. While offering his “guide to getting lucky at 35,000 feet,” he says, “I’m not a betting man, but I’d say your chance of deplaning with a plus-one are at least 50 percent.” Maybe so, but the odds of highly irritating people who have no escape is probably much higher. (Oh, please let there be a “Thanks, but no thanks” console option in the works.)
The airline’s attempts at distinguishing itself — from installing mood lighting to partnering with Google for in-flight Chromebook loans — have always been creative and interesting. Even seat-to-seat instant messaging, which is similar in spirit, is at least handy for letting separated friends and family communicate mid-flight. But this? The raison d’être is to encourage strangers to make advances with purchased food and beverages, and whenever money exchanges hands for unsolicited gifts, there’s always an undeniable creep factor.
For now, this “get lucky” feature is being pushed out onto the L.A. to Las Vegas route only. Let’s hope the company doesn’t decide to roll this out all over the country, and turn the friendly skies into a giant, sleazy meet market.