Washington: Love at first flight! Stranded airport passengers are increasingly turning to travel dating websites to combat boredom and meet new people while they wait at the departure gate.
Steve Pasternack, a web entrepreneur, has created a dating website Meetattheairport.com that enables travellers to connect at the airport.
The website already has 20,000 members worldwide according to founder Pasternack, who created the website after a delayed flight left him stranded at Miami Airport. Pasternack claims the platform has attracted roughly 20,000 members worldwide, 'CNN' reported.
The website asks new members to enter their personal interests, and an aesthetic profile, before adding flight details and departure airport.
It then matches flyers up with individuals that have similar interests and travel arrangements.
So far people in the US, Mexico and Germany have shown most interest, although Pasternack says members have joined from all over the world.
"What better time to meet somebody new than when you're sitting in an airport?
"This person could be a travel companion [or] they could be from the place you're going. It could turn into a friendship, a romance. It could work out for business, many things," he said.
Pasternack is not alone in exploring the possibility of transforming airports into social meeting places.
Vantaa Airport in Helsinki, Finland, recently considered the possibility of introducing an airport speed-dating service, the report said.
According to dating strategist Rachel Greenwald, these ideas are a natural progression of the popular niche-dating site concept.
On-line dating has exploded in popularity, since first coming to prominence in the mid-90s, becoming increasingly specialised in the last five years or so, Greenwald said.
A report from web-business industry body Subscription Site Insider found that more than 25 million people registered for on-line dating sites globally in April 2011 alone. "[There are now] dating sites for wine lovers, tall people ... there's also another which connects people on their book tastes," Greenwald says.
"[Many] young professionals in their 20s and 30s are constantly travelling as they build their careers. They simply don't have time to date when they're at home, so this [airport dating] could be very efficient," she said.