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Forget First Class: LinkedIn and Delta Launch 'Innovation Class'

Forget First Class: LinkedIn and Delta Launch 'Innovation Class'
LinkedIn launches a new program pairing entrepreneurs on airline flights. / Credit: Airplane image via Shutterstock

If you're an entrepreneur looking to rub elbows with startup royalty, here's your chance.

Delta Airlines announced this week it's partnering with the social networking site LinkedIn to connect high-profile professionals with the business leaders of tomorrow. Through the new mentoring program, called "Innovation Class," Delta is offering LinkedIn members the chance to fly with leaders from their industry as a way to share ideas and discuss goals and future projects.

Delta is previewing the concept at this weeks TED2014 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. The first in-flight pairing occurred en-route to the conference between James Patten, CEO of Patten Studio and influential technologist Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble Technology.

"Innovation Class is our small contribution to enable collaboration by bringing together brilliant minds, and there is no better place to launch this program than at TED- an organization that was born to spread ideas and fuel innovation," said Mauricio Parise, Delta's director of worldwide marketing communications.

Delta will host additional Innovation Class flights throughout 2014, including the next pairing in May featuring Sean Brock, an Outstanding Chef finalist for The James Beard Awards who is running restaurants in Charleston, South Caroline and Nashville, Tennessee.

Those who are interested in the opportunity to fly with a titan in their industry can submit an application at

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.