How to Meet Your Next Date on an Airplane

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sweethearts in airport

We all know that Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, so if you’re already going to be at the airport, why don’t you do some multitasking and use it to meet your next romantic fling? Meeting someone special on a plane is rare enough to be the stuff of fantasy, yet just commonplace enough that nearly everyone knows someone who found sparks with a seatmate at 30,000 feet. Here are some real-life tales of strangers on a plane turning into lovers on the ground.

Patrick and Lina

“Flying back to the States after my first trip to Brazil I was seated next to Lina. A flight attendant had asked me to move from my assigned seat to allow an elderly couple to sit together. The attendant sat me in the middle of a large group of Brazilian women on their way to the States to start their au pair assignments. Normally this would have been a dream seat, but after 36 straight hours of performing, partying, and traveling all I wanted to do was sleep. All these Brazilian women wanted to do was try out their English on an American.

“Lina was an English teacher, so her English was quite good. We talked for the majority of the 11 hour flight. When we weren’t talking she was sleeping on my shoulder. As we exited the plane, she realized she left her purse at her seat. I waited for her as she retrieved her purse. Meanwhile, both of our parties headed to the baggage claim. As we made our way to our separate customs I gave her my contact information. I figured I would never hear from her, but recognized a special connection was made and wanted to keep the possibility there. She did in fact come and visit for a week and we had a great time. I introduced her to baseball, American beer, and ice cream. This started an on and off relationship that lasted five years. I always knew that the relationship was going to either lead to a life together or go down in flames. It did the latter.”

Melanie Finds Love

Last year, I flew to the west coast for a dance workshop. I had an aisle seat on my second flight and I arrived in my row first. A few minutes later, a young man said, ‘Excuse me,’ and I got up to let him into the window seat. I was relieved that someone who seemed to be near my age was sitting with me. Nobody else came to our row and the seat between us stayed empty. For the final hour of the flight we spoke nonstop, learning about each other.

“He was new to the area to where we were both flying back, as I had been not many years before. I offered to show him around sometime if he was interested. We exchanged numbers. I have repeatedly told him that I was not flirting, but simply being friendly. The relationship started out slowly, and I just had the greatest time hanging out and talking with him wherever we went. This is the happiest I have been in a long time, and I cannot wait to spend my life with this wonderful man.”

Taylor’s Friendly Skies

“My brother is a high school social studies teacher in Ohio. He was traveling to Las Vegas for an economics conference during the summer in

2005. While there, he met a wonderful girl from Davis, an agricultural city in northern California. They really hit it off and started dating long distance. After about a year, he flew out and proposed to her in Monterey.

“On his flight home he was sitting next to a middle-aged woman and, a seat over, a pretty, younger woman on her first business trip. An avuncular guy from Ohio, my brother struck up a conversation with them both, telling them about his newfound love and fiancé and sharing pictures of her and his family. They talked from California to Chicago. Once he landed in Chicago, my brother called me in Ohio to tell me that he thought he’d ‘really hooked me up.’ I assumed he meant his new fiancé had a friend in California worth meeting. Instead, it was a stranger that he’d just met on a plane.

“We were engaged in July of 2008, married in July 2009, and bought our first house in October 2013. Next year, we will have been married for five years.”

Debbie’s Runway Disaster 

“My husband and I met on a flight from NYC to Turks and Caicos,” says Debbie Goetz , president of Debbie Goetz Media Connections, LLC in Jamison, Pennsylvania. “We were both traveling alone to the Club Med there on a chartered flight, looking forward to a fun singles week.

“When the flight landed in Providenciales, there was no stairway to help us get off the plane. We had to sit on the plane for three hours until they found a stairway tall enough to reach the jet. No air conditioning and no food due to customs laws. The doors to the plane were opened to let air in and crime scene-like tape was placed across the doorways so no passengers would fall out. It was quite comical.

“I am a gregarious person (my friends call me ‘the mayor’) and I couldn’t sit for three hours so I walked around the plane chatting with people. This man was sitting alone quietly and we struck up a conversation. We became friendly and spent time together in a group during the vacation week. We stayed in touch afterward and visited each other over the next year. We began dating and were engaged two years later. That was 20 years ago!”

Laura Schaefer is the author of Why We Fall Out of Love and Notes to Self