Tired of (literally) flying solo? A couple of European airlines are here to help you out! Both KLM and Icelandair have launched programs that find lonely layover passengers a temporary transit friend – for free!
Hilarious? Weird? Amazing? We’re not sure what to think, but we’re certainly intrigued. Both airlines have their own programs, so we’ll break them down one at a time for you.
KLM in Amsterdam
If you’re an 18+ year old KLM passenger with an iPhone and a 6+ hour layover in Amsterdam, you’re eligible for a free friend! The Layover with a Local program hooks you up with a local, free transport into the city, and a round of drinks for you and your new bud. Both travelers and locals join the program over a soon-to-be-released app and once matched, the pair connects in the city to explore local hot spots.
The idea here is to build a mutually beneficial relationship: travelers make the most of their layover and see some off-the-beaten-path sites, while locals get to meet travelers, practice their English and show off their hometown! The complimentary drink doesn’t hurt either.
This program will be piloted in Amsterdam from March 22nd to May 31st 2016 for passengers departing from the USA, Canada and Italy.
Icelandair in Reykjavik
Icelandair’s Stopover Buddy program is similar to KLM’s, except that rather than meeting a random local, you’ll head out with an airline staff member. As the traveler, you pick an interest category – be it culture, food, adventure, nature, lifestyle or health – and the airline matches you with a likeminded buddy for up to a full day. They’ll let you know within 72 hours if one of their 30 volunteer buddies, ranging from the CEO to pilots to check-in agents, is available. They’ll also provide you with a buddy bio and a tentative itinerary. From there, its up to you and your buddy to figure out a 24-hour adventure. Thus far, travelers have headed out fishing, horse back riding and through flea markets!
The Stopover Buddy program will run until April 30th, 2016 and is an excellent complement to the free 7-day layover opportunity provided by the airline.
Has anyone tested out this program? We’re really excited to hear if this buddy system is the next best – or strangest – thing.