We all know about matchmaking apps such as Tinder and Happn, but a new breed of downloads is making it easier to meet people when you travel – either at your destination, in the airport or even in the sky.
Website Miss Travel launched about three years ago, attempting to match lonely (presumably wealthy) male jetsetters with women who want to see the world for free.
A disclaimer on the site reads “not for escorts” but the implicit promise of sex is very much there, and the only requirement of women is that they are beautiful.
With the tagline “Never travel alone”, Miss Travel also unveiled an app in July, making it easier than ever to set up your holiday hook-up with a stranger in advance. The company says it has more than 500,000 members and has helped set up more than 324,000 trips.
Once you have signed up (it’s free for women and £30 for men), you can alert others to your “trip request” (travel with me, come to me, show me your town), as well as advertise how expenses will be covered (I’ll pay for you, Pay for me, 50/50).
Miss Travel was set up by Brandon Wade, CEO and founder of other self-described “niche” dating sites seekingarrangement.com, whatsyourprice.com and openminded.com.
Another app for solo flyers is MileHi, which was launched by British businessman Richard Lloyd this summer.
The idea is that users can login an and submit details of an upcoming flight to see if any other likeminded people are on board. If so, you can start a conversation and see where it takes you – planning a coffee at the airport, or a time to meet in the aircraft’s galley.
It also incorporates a Tinder-style “hot or not” right-left swipe, and relies on your Facebook account being synched to it.
Despite the name, MileHi does claim it can also be used for business networkers, partygoers and holidaymakers, not just people looking for a fling. But as James Cordon recently joked on The Late Late Show: “This is the most downloaded app at check-in, and the most deleted app when you get to baggage reclaim.”
Meanwhile, a similar app called Wingman launched in beta last year, but is currently closed until its “public launch this summer”. Curious flyers may also want to try Skycheckin, which came on the scene in the spring.
Other social apps have tried to tap into the market as well, with some launched by the airlines themselves. Dutch airline KLM unveiled Meet and Seat in 2012, helping people to choose who they sit next to on the plane.
Last year, Virgin America created a geo-location app called HereOnBiz for corporate flyers who log in via their LinkedIn profile. A press release said: “[It’s] the app that ensures entrepreneurs never miss an opportunity to connect.”
One of the earliest innovators was Copenhagen-based start-up Planely, available for download as far back as 2010. But given its last tweet was back in May 2012, its relationship with flyers never really took off.
However, with more and more airlines now offering onboard wifi, actually using apps such as these in the air has become a reality.
By Jenny Southan