One method might be to enable people to network. While booking the ticket people can show their profile – e.g. a picture, what are currently working on and what interests them. People that are interested can then lookout for the other person or even pick a seat next to the person with a profile that they are interested in.
Obviously some people do like their peace while traveling so they would not participate. Others however would love to turn this “dead” time into something potentially productive for them. Imagine if you offer Financial Advice, are a real estate agent, a life coach, recruiting for GE graduate scheme, looking for volunteers for Amnesty International or even a Jehovah’s witness looking for people to hear your side of the story.
The basic networking application (e.g. Facebook but more basic) gives you the perfect opportunity to turn a group of strangers into friends or potential clients. The airline could charge an extra $5 for the service. I would gladly pay this as it seems nominal compared to a $300 ticket.
The airline now not only has a USP for attracting business as well as a new revenue stream, but customers can make better use of their travel time.