In a new poll of 1,600 travelers, the website Jetsetter found that 15 percent of respondents said they have had sex on a plane. Another recent study by the British airfare search engine Jetcost surveyed over 700 British flight attendants and found that 21 percent of them had participated in sexual relations with a colleague, while 14 percent had done so with passengers. It appears that flying the friendly skies is getting friendlier all the time.
Fun fact: though it seems like a modern concept, the term “Mile-High Club” actually dates back to 1914. That was when an enterprising young aviator with the improbably apropos name of Lawrence Burst Sperry invented the prototype for autopilot. In addition to making air travel smoother and safer, Sperry (who was a bit of a playboy) discovered it had the added benefit of freeing up his hands…for more amorous maneuvers.
In fact, just two years later, Sperry and a married socialite named Cynthia Polk were rescued from a small plane crash in the waters of the Atlantic just off Long Island. Stark naked. Sperry explained their nudity by saying their clothes had been ripped off in the crash, but common sense implied otherwise. One cheeky tabloid of the time headlined it, “Aerial Petting Leads to Wetting.” Ah, the golden age of travel.
More than 100 years later, his legacy runs strong, with aspirational mile-high clubbers still finding plenty of reasons to hook up at high altitude.
“It’s something they can check off their bucket list,” says one crewmember we spoke to, who flies with a U.S. carrier. “It’s like an elite club people want to join. I went skydiving, I bungee jumped. I had an orgasm at 35,0000 feet.”
That said, joining is getting harder and harder (if you’ll excuse the wording) with more and more folks getting packed into the back of the plane. And that’s not to mention the question of cleanliness. But for those of you looking to earn a membership card on your next flight, we asked our anonymous airline crew sources for tips on how you can canoodle without getting caught.
Stick to long-hauls.
“Long-haul flights, and relatively empty ones are best, ” says one flight attendant with a major legacy carrier. “A lot of them are overnight, so people have some time to drink, the cabin gets dark, and off you go.” Our flight attendants also clock the most copulation on flights to popular party destinations like Vegas or the Maldives.
Skip to the Loo.
Though you’d be hard pressed to think of a less romantic location, the lavatory might just be your best option. Our source’s tip? “Use the handicapped lav because it’s larger and there’s more space to maneuver. Plus they have handicap rails so you have something to grip.” Just remember, says another, “We can get into the bathroom at any point,” so don’t think that lock will keep you safe.
Bathroom queue? No problem.
Popular imagination has these altitudinal assignations involving full-on fornication in the lavatory. But in reality, our sources say most would-be joiners never even leave their seats. “Most of the time it’s a cheeky under-the-blanket knuckle shuffle,” says a flight attendant with a major Asia-Pacific carrier. Just remember, airplanes are public conveyances, so if you get caught in your seat, you could get in trouble with the law.
You might want the middle seat, for once.
On the aisle, chances are it will be too busy for you to get busy. Instead, opt for the window and middle seat.
Perfect your timing.
“Do it when the cabin crew are seated and the seatbelt sign is on,” says one source. “Takeoff, landing, severe turbulence. Who knows, that could help!” Another suggests, “Crew service is also a good time. If the crew is up at the front of the cabin with the cart, no one is in the back, and that’s a perfect opportunity to use the lavatory.”
Keep it cool.
When flight attendants catch naughty nooky-makers, their primary goal is getting them to stop without alerting other passengers or making a scene. “I tell them you can’t do that here, it’s not acceptable. I don’t want to embarrass them and I don’t want to involve other passengers.” So if you get caught, be cool and act like nothing happened. Then pick up where you left off back on the ground.
One final word of advice from our international crew: “Everything is dull at altitude; your sense of taste, smell, everything. If you’re expecting an earth-shattering big bang, it’s not going to happen.”