Social Media Users Get Free Access to Airport Lounge

It's not easy to gain entry to an international airline's airport lounge. Typically you'll have to show a first- or business-class boarding pass, or elite-level frequent-flyer program credentials.

But for one carrier's lounge at one U.S. airport, proving you are a social media guru will get you past the front desk.

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First, the lounge in question: Cathay Pacific's first- and business-class lounge at San Francisco International Airport (promotional video here).

Through July 31, you can take advantage of the lounge's showers and free all-you-can-eat noodle bar by showing that you have a Klout score of 40 or above.

What's Klout? It's an online service that purports to measure the social-media influence of anyone with an online presence. According to the company: "Our friendships and professional connections have moved online, making influence measurable for the first time in history. When you recommend, share, and create content you impact others. Your Klout Score measures that influence on a scale of 1 to 100."

If this is of interest, you'll first have to visit Klout and link your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). That will allow Klout to measure your online footprint. Assuming you score at least 40, you would next download the mobile Klout app to your smartphone. Then, when checking in at the lounge, show the receptionist your score and you're in.

Restricted as it is to one lounge at one airport, this offer is obviously of very limited value. It is more interesting as a harbinger of similar deals to come. Or as a heads up. Because tying together access and "clout" does raise questions.

Assume you're a first-class Cathay Pacific ticket holder. You paid $12,190 for your San Francisco-to-Hong Kong ticket. Would you be happy finding yourself standing in line to use the shower behind someone who was in the lounge on the strength of his online presence?

It's a Brave New World ... but not necessarily a better one.

Reader Reality Check

Are deals like this one worth pursuing? Are they fair?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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