If having cramped airplane sex is high up on your bucket list, we have some good and bad news for you: It's easier than you think to pull off, according to a long-time flight attendant.
The bad news? You're essentially having sex in an airborne porta-potty; that plane lavatory may seem clean, but beneath the surface, it's pretty damn filthy.
Jenna Leigh is the author of the new book Faking the O, a memoir about her unique dating struggles as a flight attendant and single mom. After 22 years working for a major international carrier, Leigh has seen plenty of passengers struggle to join the so-called mile high club ― but a good number of them have been successful, too.
How did they pull it off? Leigh shares how couples have successfully done the dirty 30,000 feet in the air and the mistakes that led other randy passengers to get caught in the act.
Fifteen percent of people admitted to having sex on a plane in a recent Jetsetter and Travel and Leisure survey. From your experience, is it really that common?
I've worked for one carrier for over two decades. We've been bought out several times over the years and are now one of the largest airlines in the world. Let's just say I've caught several couples in the lavatories over the years and many couples "going the extra mile" in their seats.
What's the protocol for handling it as crew? I've read that airlines usually don't address the subject during flight attendant training.
Most of the time, if we see something going on and it's not affecting anyone, we let it be ― and then high-five the couple afterwards. Just kidding. Honestly, I don't think we have anything that specifically addresses it in our manuals. Fornication is frowned upon in the air if the seat belt sign is on, but ultimately it's up to the discretion of the crew on board on how to deal with it.
What are some of the worst attempts you've seen through the years? Any particularly funny anecdotes?
I've seen a whole lot of sexual encounters go wrong and for a variety of reasons. That said, the No. 1 reason they fail or get caught in the act is because they're too obvious about it. Couples try to be discreet, but it always backfires because they act so guilty and end up drawing more attention to themselves.
The second biggest mistake couples make is timing. If you want to give yourself the best chance at joining the mile high club, take a red-eye flight where most passengers are likely to be asleep! You'd be surprised how many people attempt (unsuccessfully, of course) to engage in sexual acts on full flights in the middle of the day.
One time, I had a couple who began making out in their seats and thought it would somehow draw less attention to what they were doing if they covered themselves up with a blanket. Wrong! Well, that and the giggling certainly didn't help, either. They drew so much attention to themselves ― it was like they wanted to get caught.
What did those who've been successful do differently?
Truthfully, it's really hard not to get caught. However, it's the couples who act casual that usually have more successful outcomes. During one flight, two passengers who did not know each other previously met in the back galley and struck up a conversation.
After a bit, we noticed that they both disappeared, and only one lavatory was occupied. At that point, we pretty much knew what was going on. One of the flight attendants said, "We have to go in there." The other flight attendant and I both said, "Hell, no!" So, we all ended up doing rock papers scissors to see who would go in. She lost.
When the flight attendant opened the door, the passengers seemed nonchalant about what they were doing. They quickly got dressed and both went back to their seats, which were not even near each other, and went about their business like nothing had happened!
Most of the time, is it casual encounters like that?
Yep, most passengers we catch in the act are casual encounters ― people sitting next to each other on long flights that get to drinking and flirting and one thing leads to another. They probably could not care less about the "mile high" designation, they're just in the moment.
But it's cramped quarters, right? From a logistical standpoint, how much room would a couple have to pull it off?
It would be a logistical nightmare! It's about as easy as trying to do it in a phone booth with a toilet between your legs! Let's just say both people better be very experienced in yoga to get into that position.
What's the fascination with the mile high club? Do you get it?
I think it's motivated by adrenaline and the idea of getting caught or not ― both aspects excite people. That and I think for some people, it's about just wanting to cross it off their bucket list and, of course, brag about it afterwards.
Do I get it? Sure, it's the thrill of it all, the spontaneity. But at the same time, it amazes us how many people want to do it in the lavatories. If they knew how unsanitary and gross those are, they'd probably think twice! Especially if they knew how many people completely "miss" when trying to go to the bathroom during turbulence!