Ah, but brand loyalty is an issue, one that Mello believes can be exploited. As his "solution" becomes integrated with an airline system, he expects the results will create a more comfortable experience for the passenger that will lead to greater loyalty to the airline that provides it. Satisfly is now working with Hawaiian Airlines, testing its seating solutions on employee passengers, and is "in discussions" with other carriers.
When you think about it, this isn't exactly new. It is a sort of reworking of the concept of affinity groups -- but taking it to the next level -- by marketing on a one-to-one basis.
Earlier, clumsier attempts at harnessing "affinity" might be illustrated by the late and not-so-lamented Hooters Air. And remember that proposed "all-smoking" airline from Germany? It got a lot of press, but never did get off the ground. And neither did the much ballyhooed "nudist flights" -- also from Germany (what this says about Germany is something I refuse to think about).
One affinity group enterprise that is expected to launch is Pet Airways -- the carrier's first all-dog-and-cat flight is scheduled to make its cross-country debut in July. But these pet passengers have little say in the matter -- and come to think of it, how much affinity is there between cats and dogs? But I digress …
Let me ask you: Will Satisfly -- and the companies that will no doubt follow -- change the way we fly? I could not say. But I do like Mr. Mello's underlying concept: "I want to make flying fun again." Amen to that.
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site FareCompare.com offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.