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Mile High Club Membership Growing

(Updated February 13, 2003)

The uncontrollable giggling caught my attention; it stood out because it was deliberately trying to be subdued with whispers of "shhh" and "quiet."

On a recent flight to Florida, I was sitting in an aisle seat right in front of the lavatories. A high-pitched squeal came from behind me. As I turned my head, two excited lovers appeared out of the lavatory with the smirk of guilty pleasure all over their faces. The man and woman, who appeared to be in their 40's, glanced my way momentarily, then began laughing knowing their secret had been discovered. They would never forget this flight; they had been inducted into the infamous Mile High Club.

One In Ten

British online travel firm Opodo conducted a survey of travelers and found one in ten air travelers claim to have had sex during a flight. And, more than half wished they too could join the Mile High Club. So, what is it about airplanes? It's hard to say, but the desire has been around since the early days of flying. Perhaps a little history lesson is in order.

Flying Floozies

According to the Mile High Club website, the Mile High Club's founding member was aviation prodigy Lawrence Sperry, a stunt pilot who developed the famous aircraft flight control known as autopilot. Sperry, with use of his new invention, flew the first known Mile High Club flight in November of 1916.

It all started when Sperry began giving flying lessons to a wealthy socialite named Mrs. Waldo Polk, who became more interested in Sperry than his fancy flying. So, on one fateful November day, while flying in a Curtiss flying boat over Babylon, New York, Sperry and Polk had an encounter that had nothing to do with flying lessons. While engaging in "lusty aerobatics" with the plane on autopilot, something went wrong and the plane plunged 500 feet into the South Bay. Luckily for the hedonistic couple, two duck hunters witnessed the crash and were able to rescue them. He was able to walk and she was brought to a local hospital in a stretcher. Sperry later told a friend that he bumped the gyro platform during their aerial maneuvering.

So, what kinds of people today want to go "to great heights" while flying? Surprisingly, normal everyday folks do. When I was a flight attendant, the people who I caught in the throes of "skylust" were often professionals such as doctors, lawyers, executives, and even housewives. So again, what is it about airplanes? The reason I've always heard was, "I've always wanted to do it on an airplane."

The same goes for the couple on my flight to Florida. While walking through the Orlando terminal thinking of their "flying flooziness," I was approached by the Mile High Club's newest members themselves. The couple and I started talking, and it turned out she was a schoolteacher and he was an insurance industry executive. They have been married for 15 years and have three children. They felt compelled to tell me why they did what they did. Their reason? You guessed it; they've always wanted to do it on an airplane.

Plane Harmless?

While joining the Mile High Club may seem harmless or even amusing, it has caused some problems for airlines. Virgin Atlantic Airways has had to replace diaper changing tables in its newest planes because passengers have broken them during illicit trysts, the airline said. Several years ago, Singapore Airlines stated that one-third of its "unruly behavior" cases requiring cabin-crew intervention involved sexual misconduct. It can become a safety issue anytime a crewmember is called from his or her duties to deal with unruly passengers, particularly when the cockpit crew has to leave the flight controls to deal with incidents. A Virgin spokesman added, "We don't mind couples having a good time, but this is not something that we would encourage because of air regulations."

Related AnitaVacation Features:

It's Liftoff For Hooters Air - While some airlines are going bust (pardon the pun) one man is thinking there's gold in them thar hills.

Screams From Our Readers: Point Counter Point -- Gals: "Hooters Is Sexist!" Guys:"Hot Chicks On Planes Works For Me!"

Related Sites:

Mile High Club - A funny site on how to become a member, and how people have become members!

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