Love is in the air if you know how to find it
IN the world of cinema, when an attractive single woman finds herself sitting next to a charming stranger on a flight there are really only two possible outcomes. Best-case scenario is that fate throws the two together (reluctantly) in a madcap romantic farce that inevitably leads to a heart-warming ending. Think of perky Meg Ryan strolling hand-in-hand with Kevin Kline through a picturesque vineyard at the end of French Kiss.
Worst-case scenario? The charming stranger will turn out to be a psychopath who takes his companion on a terrifying ride before he inevitably meets a heart-stopping end. Think of Rachel Mcadams running from a knife-wielding Cillian Murphy at the end of Red Eye.
In the real world, attractive women and charming men sit next to each other all the time, but after making a connection they disembark and could spend the rest of their lives wondering if that person was ‘‘the one’’.
But not if Will Scully-power has anything to do with it. He’s the founder of wemetonaplane. com, a new website designed to help airline passengers track down their potential soul mates.
It’s a subject close to his heart. Last July, while travelling back to Sydney from Asia, Scully-power was looking forward to stretching out on the empty seat next to his when, to his disappointment, the last passenger to board plonked herself down. They ended up chatting for much of the journey and even watched a movie together. When he disembarked in Sydney the young woman, Maia, who was on her way home to New Zealand, gave ScullyPower her email address. Before he had even left the airport, he’d used his phone to find her Facebook page and connect.
‘‘The only reason I could do that was because her full name was contained in her email address,’’ Scully-power says. ‘‘But I wondered what would have happened if I didn’t have her name. I assumed this must happen all the time, so I guessed most people just tried to find the person online or started their own blog and hoped for a miracle.’’
Scully-power is the co-founder and managing director of Datarati, an online marketing, analytics and optimisation company, so he was well equipped to research online activity. He found that globally more than 4400 people type ‘‘met on a plane’’ into Google every week. ‘‘What I also discovered was that nothing existed to help them,’’ he says. Not any more. Now anyone who has ever suspected love was in the air can go to wemetonaplane.com, type in their flight and destination details and share their story.
‘‘Basically we encourage people to be as detailed as possible: say, ‘Seat 52B, met a 25-year-old brunette who lives in Sydney and we talked about . . .’ You then hit a button which connects to your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed, helping create a viral effect for the site. ‘‘If you (are) the person who’s being looked for, you go to the site, search for your flight, and you (will) see all the stories from that journey. If you recognise the person, you can then comment on their story and they immediately receive an email. That’s how the connection is made.’’
Scully-power says it’s up to individuals to decide what kind of contact details they provide, but one option is to give their Facebook name or address rather than phone numbers, which allows a person to review your profile before accepting.
Four months after meeting, Scully-power and Maia got together in Australia, enjoyed a snowboarding holiday in New Zealand, and soon she had flown across the Tasman to start a new life in Sydney. Just like something out of a movie, really. David Carroll’s column on new travel technology appears monthly in Travel & Indulgence.