Jeff Jarvis answers Steve Baker’s question in fascinating fashion, imagining a commercial flight experience that’s designed to be more social not only in meatspace terms but also on a digital basis. I think we’d all benefit from his suggestions. And the notion that customers become members of an airline community is not so far-fetched: Virgin Airlines explicitly goes for this effect, and I recently participated in a focus group for United Platinum Executive members where we all expressed an oddly fierce devotion to the company.
Jarvis’s photo brings back memories of those halcyon days when my family used to rush up to the lounge to get the good hanging-out seats and the free packs of playing cards on the UA HNL-LAX run. Of course, they couldn’t compete on price back then so they had to think up other advantages. (A 20-ounce latte to the first person who can find me an online video of the old Western Airlines ad: “Coffee beans, cha cha cha…”)