Delta Airlines and LinkedIn want to make that happen.
At TED2014, the two companies announced a collaboration project, “Innovation Class,” aiming to connect “today’s high-profile influencers with the business leaders of tomorrow at 35,000 feet.” For one flight, industry titans are paired with aspiring young professionals to mentor, discuss future projects, and exchange ideas. Prospective mentees may visit deltainnovationclass.com to submit an application for an offered flight with an individual, suggest leaders for future flights, and sign up for future updates. Sounds great, right?
This mentorship opportunity can spark inspiration and lasting relationships out of what could otherwise be an average flight. Future business leaders can have a much more sincere, meaningful conversation without having to fight a sea of other hopefuls at a networking event. Plus, this is the experience of a lifetime.
On the other hand, a sour or awkward interaction can make the flight feel much longer. Unlike networking events, “Innovation Class” does not offer the opportunity to end the conversation or leave. The influencer and young professional are stuck with each other for the entirety of the flight–no matter what.
If you are a networking pro and do your homework, it would make for a great, life changing experience. This would require a lot of preparation and networking skill. For example, young professionals must have exceptional conversation skills and the ability to pick up nonverbal cues are also important. Also, having enough conversation topics in mind would help!
Is “Innovation Class” an innovative networking opportunity or set-up for a rather uncomfortable flight? What networking/professional skills are essential to make the most out of it?