Airlines are typically more concerned with connecting flights, but one carrier this holiday was busy connecting seats.
The inspiration: “Airports are crowded with people from different backgrounds. Can we bring them together for Christmas? Airports can be lonely places. Especially when you are travelling around Christmastime. So, to bring people together in the season of togetherness, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines created The Connecting Seats.”
The digitally-savvy KLM set up a two-way installation in the midst of the chaotic airport departures area, designed to break down the language barriers that are one reason why the crowds of people from different backgrounds typically don’t communicate. Even for a few minutes, KLM’s goal was to help travelers from different cultures, world views and languages understand each other.
With the help of DDB & Tribal Amsterdam, KLM designed the Connecting Seats pod to bring travelers together using Google technology. Over the course of a few days at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, two seats were connected with speakers that translated every language known to Google Translate in real time.
Passengers of different languages were invited to chat with each other, seated face to face, by conversing using a directional microphone and hardware connected to Google’s Cloud Speech, Cloud Translation and Web Speech technology.
According to KLM, “The Connecting Seats yielded some warm and emotional chats in which people exchanged fun anecdotes, Christmas wishes and their views on the world. Ultimately, travellers from over 30 different nationalities put their phones or books aside and opened up to each other. Bringing people together, literally, is something we strive for every day at KLM.”
Below, how it was promoted on social media:
If you could talk to everyone in the world, what would you share? ✨ pic.twitter.com/XDQ8Kx5n6S
— Royal Dutch Airlines (@KLM) December 22, 2017