For many travellers, flying is a solitary affair. It starts at the airport newsstand where we pick a paperback or glossy—something a little too trashy for real life, but perfect for Airworld.

After take-off we slip on a pair of headphones and zone out in front of Die Hard, or reach for the inflight magazine and start visualizing our next winter getaway. Then, once we’ve reached content overload, we might pull out our journal and start scribbling about the trip ahead or the memories behind us.

Yet, as we’ve reported on this blog, many of the latest airline tools and developments seem to be geared toward making air travel more social.

Last month we told you about Lufthansa’s new MemberScout app, which encourages frequent flyers to share travel tips, between-flight cocktails and even a taxi ride from the airport.

In a similar vein, Air France/KLM has launched a trip-planning portal called Bluenity, where prospective passengers can gather real-time travel advice from local residents and meet with people with matching itineraries.

Meanwhile, non-airline actors such as Satisfly, Eezeer, Dopplr and FourSquare are coming out with apps and services that promise to make flying a friendlier affair.

Factor in the slow rise of inflight WiFi and it’s clear that air travel is being transformed from an introverted media-consuming experience into a social event.

Although we’re all about engagement and relationship-building here at Sparksheet, we have to ask: Is this really a good thing?

What sorts of privacy and liability issues will brands face if folks are using airlines as matchmakers? What does this all mean for the future of inflight entertainment and Transumer-oriented advertisers?

Is this a question of cultural differences (i.e. Americans love talking on planes, Brits hate it)?

Tell us: Is air travel a social or solitary experience?