The Mile High Club Celebrates 100 Years
“L egend has it that in late November 1916, while piloting a Curtiss Flying Boat C‑2 some 500 feet above the coast of Long Island, he used his instrument to administer a novel kind of flying lesson to one Cynthia Polk (whose husband was driving an ambulance in war-torn France). During their airborne antics, however, the two unwittingly managed to bump and disengage the autopilot, sending their plane into Great South Bay, where they were rescued, both stark naked, by duck hunters. A gallant Sperry explained that the force of the crash had stripped both fliers of all their clothing, but that didn’t stop a skeptical New York tabloid from running the famous headline ‘Aerial Petting Ends in Wetting.’ For his caper, Sperry is generally considered the founder of the Mile High Club, a cohort that loosely includes all those who have ever ‘done it’ in flight (though precisely what constitutes ‘it’ remains a lurking definitional issue).”
The Mile High Club Celebrates 100 Years
According to this article written by Mark Gerchick of The Atlantic, Lawrence Burst Sperry invented the autopilot in June of 1914 and used it more than two years later to — ahem — create what is now euphemistically known as the Mile High Club.
Since that auspicious moment, many people have engaged in applying for lifetime membership into this club — including actresses such as Cara Delevingne and Margot Robbie, according to this article written by
“According to a 2011 Skyscanner survey of over 1,000 travelers, 95 percent of people surveyed said they want to join the Mile High Club, yet only 20 percent have actually given it a try”, according to this article written by Kristine Fellizar of Bustle. “As one Reddit thread a couple years back found, about 65 percent of flight attendants would admit to letting things slide. As long as couples are discreet about it.”
Six Tips for Joining the Mile High Club
According to this article written by Eric Rosen of Travel+Leisure, there are six tips from experienced sources which you can follow if your goal is to become a member of the Mile High Club — but first, this word of advice has been imparted: “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.”
If that word of advice has not deterred you in your quest, here are the six tips for joining the Mile High Club — and if you want further details, please refer to the aforementioned article:
- Stick to long-haul flights — especially relatively empty ones which travel overnight.
- Skip to the loo — that is, use the lavatory — but do not think that you can secure yourself inside, as any flight attendant can access a lavatory despite the door being locked.
- For some people, a queue to the lavatory is not a problem, as they will stay in their seats and do what they can under a blanket — but if you get caught, you are breaking the law and could get into trouble; and how much trouble depends on the jurisdiction on where the incident occurred.
- You might want the middle seat, for once — especially when coupled with a window seat, as an aisle can be too busy for you to be inconspicuous.
- Perfect your timing and do your thing when members of the flight crew are seated and the seat belt sign is illuminated — or when members of the flight crew are at the front of the cabin with the cart and no one is in the back.
- Keep it cool if you get caught — as though nothing happened.
Using Technology to Join the Mile High Club
Technology is even being employed to facilitate the growing membership of the Mile High Club. According to the official Internet web site of Lounger, it “is an app that lets you meet and mingle or just do a favour to other passengers. Through lounger, you can gain access to lounges world-wide or give someone you meet through the app the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of premium transiting.”
All you need to do is register your account with Lounger — “Facebook integration makes this a speedy process and you can build your profile by choosing from your Facebook pictures” — and then sign into your account at the airport. As a host, you pick your lounge; and as a guest, you select the lounges in which you would like access. You can approach a guest or a host and message them. You can check out the profiles of all available guests and hosts and contact them through the messaging system. With whom you want to meet and socialize or simply show some kindness to a fellow traveler is entirely up to you.
The service is entirely free of charge.
Other technology is available as well. If you are not necessarily seeking membership in the Mile High Club but rather are looking for a relationship — or perhaps even love — at 35,000 feet, you can read this article I wrote back on Saturday, June 25, 2016 as for advice and technology on how you can possibly be successful in your search.
Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands
Um…what you might be thinking is not what I meant by that subheading.
Rather — instead of attempting to join the Mile High Club on a commercial flight — you can charter a retrofitted, single-prop Cherokee airplane with your special someone for a flight of one hour on which you can “enter a private, curtained off aircraft for a once in a lifetime romantic experience. You will receive champagne, chocolates and a very discreet pilot. Great for birthdays, anniversaries, marriage proposals and any special occasion.” Pillows and blankets are included with the experience for your comfort — and if you time your flight well, you might even have a sunset to encourage the moment.
Flamingo Air — which is based in Cincinnati — is one private airline which offers this service at a cost of $475.00 per couple — but choose this option wisely, as all flights are not refundable; but the flight can be rescheduled.
For some people, this idea might be considered cheating — in more ways that one, depending on the circumstances — as having a private aircraft may not be as thrilling or as exciting as the traditional fantasy and adrenaline rush which comes with knowingly and purposely breaking the rules and attempting to dodge the risk of getting caught despite flirting with it.
Sarah Steegar apparently agrees with this sentiment in this article she wrote about whether or not the Mile High Club is real for FlyerTalk: “Private flights don’t count! There’s no challenge there but money”, Steegar — who is a flight attendant — wrote. “I can certainly promise you that, despite the classic fantasy, it would never be flight attendants doing it.”
I am going to use a similar disclosure which Eric Rosen used in his article: The author, this weblog and BoardingArea in no way condones the commission of lewd acts in public. This article is intended in the spirit of fun and not as an instructional manual or encouragement of any kind.
Exactly what date and time the Mile High Club was “founded” is unknown; but late November of 2016 is good enough for me.
Happy 100 years, Mile High Club — as well as to all of the people who joined as lifetime members. If you are one of those people who have either joined the club or plan to join — well…let us just keep that our little secret…
Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.