My boyfriend and I* are getting busy, when I suddenly feel the Earth move. Only this time, the Earth is thousands of feet below us.
Our tryst is cut short by some turbulence, and I’m brought back to our less-than-romantic surroundings in the six-passenger cabin of Amelia, a rickety Piper Cherokee 6 aircraft equipped with heart-shaped pillows, plastic champagne flutes, and a polyester blanket. I try to get back in the mood, but I can’t help thinking of what lies behind the thin white curtain just three feet from us: our pilot, Kent Dobbins, an affable, gray-haired man who seems like the “blushing” type.
Checking the “Join Mile-High Club” box off my bucket list is supposed to be a fun way for my boyfriend and me to celebrate our anniversary. Although the process of entry might seem straightforward (find willing partner, wait for plane to rise to 5,280 feet, go for it), carrying out these steps can be tricky. The logistics of waiting for the right time—free from turbulence and vigilant flight attendants—can be frustrating in itself. Then there’s the issue of moving within a coffin-size bathroom, not to mention the mandatory (and decidedly unsexy) task of sanitizing the toilet seat. It’s probably why, according to surveys, only four percent of Americans have achieved in-flight intercourse—even though 33 percent fantasize about it.
So when I heard about the Ohio-based Flamingo Air’s Flights of Fancy service—60 minutes in the sky, complete with champagne, chocolates, and “one very discreet pilot”—I danced an inner jig at the prospect of finally joining a league of sexual adventurers without facing the typical obstacles. While there are a handful of other private airlines offering similar membership—Erotic Airways in Australia, Mile High Flights in England, and the recently launched Love Cloud in Vegas—Flamingo Air has been letting passengers get frisky in the extra-friendly skies since 1991, servicing two couples per week since its inception. Going with the experienced option, my boyfriend and I fork over the $425 fee and fly to Cincinnati to celebrate our anniversary in truly high style.
Captain Dobbins welcomes us aboard the 28-foot jet that will soon become our own personal love nest. Assessing the cramped interior, I quickly realize that there are several degrees of “flying private.” Whereas Kimye might charter the equivalent of the Ritz-Carlton to canoodle between the clouds, we seem to have boarded a sleazy hourly motel room specifically designed for quickies. When Amelia’s engine erupts, several concerns come to mind: Didn’t John F. Kennedy Jr. crash in one of these things? Why does the emergency handle seem so complicated? Should we be troubled that Dobbins wears glasses?
As if I need to be reminded of his presence, the pilot’s voice booms from behind the sheet: “Once we cross the river, you can take your seat belts off, if you know what I mean. That’s the last you’ll hear from me,” he says. “Unless there’s an emergency, obviously.” The only thing to do is pop open the $4.99 bottle of André Brut and get comfortable. The glowing sunset, combined with the liquid courage of the bubbly, reminds me of our mission. We spot the river. “Let’s get naked,” I announce.
Stripping seductively in tight quarters isn’t an option, but the teamwork required serves as effective foreplay. Or so I tell myself. Honestly, I’m less turned on than focused on the task at hand: Must achieve high-altitude orgasm.
When my boyfriend beckons me to kneel before him, I smile coyly while searching for a comfortable position on a floor that vibrates with disconcerting intensity. I jump on him, and we start to get into the groove—until my elbow takes a massive hit from the turbulence. Then I see the river again, our signal that it’s time to wrap things up. I reapply myself as quickly as possible until I reach my goal. “Yes!” I shout, no longer caring about our chaperone in the cockpit.
After we land, we’re greeted by owners David MacDonald and Sharon McGee, who present us with a certificate: “This is to certify that Mélanie Berliet performed the prescribed ritual and became eligible for membership in this exclusive club.”
Some might argue that my boyfriend and I took the easy way out, bypassing the old-fashioned way of joining the Mile-High Club. That Flamingo Air cheats the system by offering a watered-down version of the fantasy that removes the illicit thrill of getting caught. But our adventure wasn’t without its hurdles, and I’ll take the freedom to howl with abandon over the rush of getting away with the act on a crowded plane any day.
*Models pictured in photo are not the author and her boyfriend.
Photos by Miles Aldridge / Trunk Archive