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Delta Wants To Put You On A Flight With An Inspirational Business Leader

The airline and social network are combining digital and physical connections to inspire the business leaders of tomorrow.

The serendipitous meeting on a flight is the stuff of urban legend. We've all met someone who has a story about a marriage, business deal, career move, or even just an inspiring conversation that began with a random seat assignment.

Just in time for TED 2014, Delta Airlines has teamed with LinkedIn to make the whole lucky flight partner legend a bit more official with a new initiative called Innovation Class.

Created by agency Wieden+Kennedy New York, the campaign is offering customers who are LinkedIn members the opportunity to meet and fly with select industry leaders on a designated Delta flight. The first winner was CEO of Patten Studio James Patten who won a seat next to Pebble Technology CEO Eric Migicovsky on a flight from Salt Lake City to Vancouver for TED, and now stars in a brand video of their airborne encounter.

Wieden+Kennedy New York creative director Sean McLaughlin says the campaign came out of the idea that some of the people flying Delta every day are some the smartest people in the world. "And they¹re just sitting right there on our flights," he says. "As a company all about connections, it seems only natural to do something with this. Could we take these people at the top of their industry and find a way to pair them up with someone just trying to break in to that field? That seemed too good to pass up."

The airline will host three other Innovation Class flights throughout 2014, including one en route to The James Beard Awards in New York City on May 5th with Sean Brock, a finalist for outstanding chef this year. The two other opportunities are yet to be determined.

The Innovation Class site also asks you to submit ideas for more mentors to offer flights with, hinting the campaign could well go beyond the initial four opportunities. "The great thing about the program is you can get really deep in to so many different professions with so many different professionals," says McLaughlin. "It was originally presented as a year-long endeavor,
that could go on and on."

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