By Melanie Lieberman
April 01, 2014

Forget the 30-second elevator pitch: now you can have an entire three-hour flight to bounce ideas off your industry icon or dream business partner on Delta Air Lines’ new Innovation Class.

The social-savvy airline’s groundbreaking concept is a mentorship program developed in partnership with LinkedIn, designed to connect leaders and innovators during otherwise unused airtime.

“Every day, Delta carries almost a half million customers around the globe, many of whom are leaders in their respective fields of work,” explained Delta’s director of worldwide marketing communications, Mauricio Parise.

Seizing upon their enormous network of corporate travelers (Delta Air Lines has been named the leading US airline for corporate travel buyers for three years in a row), Delta began inviting members of its notable clientele to step into mentor-roles.

The first mentor in the Delta Innovation Class, tech titan Eric Migicovsky, received a free flight to Vancouver, B.C. for the 2014 TED Conference.

Interaction designer and inventor, James Patten, was the lucky first mentee, who was granted a stipend for participating, as well as a free flight and entrance to the same conference. His hotel accommodations were also compensated.

The next innovation experience up for grabs is a flight from Charleston, S.C. to New York City for The James Beard Foundation Awards with Chef Sean Brock. Applications for this coveted seat, next to a nationally recognized culinary master, close April 4. To apply, simply login to the submission form using your LinkedIn profile. If accepted, be prepared to expand upon your rapid-fire introduction, or emaciated restaurant proposal.

Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisiure.