Peter Shankman recoils at the suggestion that he's created some kind of airborne dating service with AirTroductions, a Web-based service that allows travelers with similar interests to sit next to each other on flights. "If two people match up and have babies and live happily ever after, great," says Shankman. "But my sole purpose is to negate the psychological hell of sitting next to someone you hate for six hours. I once took a four-hour flight sitting next to Miss Texas; that flight took eleven seconds."
Members of AirTroductions fill out profiles that include their flying preferences, a few personal details (vodka martini or beer? Prada or Levi's?), and a short description of themselves and who they are looking to meet. Before taking a trip, members can enter their itineraries and see if there are any matches on that flight. For a $5 fee, a connection is made.
Despite Shankman's best efforts at selling the site as a valuable business service, members are clearly more interested in making love connections. "I'm a fun-loving, cuddling kind," reads one profile. "I'm an absolute laser tag nut," states another. Thus far, the site has matched a measly 40 people, a consequence of having only 3,491 registered members. But Shankman believes if he can scrape together at least 50,000 members, he'll have the critical mass he needs. And yes, there is an option for people who just want to be left alone.