Love is in the air: six tales of passengers behaving badly

February 13, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    Everyone likes to talk about how annoying flying can be, what with those unpredictable and ever-growing airfares, but for some fliers it can be a very pleasurable experience. Too pleasurable, in fact.

    Sigmund Freud once said that in our dreams, flying can symbolize sex, so maybe it's just our fantasies turning into reality. Actually, experts say it's far more likely to have something to do with the fact that planes are, let's face it, giant vibrating objects. Either way, you're thinking about sex in the air, and a surprising number of you are doing it, too. (Sex, that is.)

    And why not? Even if you've got dozens of channels of television at your seat, how many "Top Chef" reruns can one take before realizing what you already knew, deep down – you'd rather be joining the Mile High Club. Just in time for Valentine's Day, we've got six incredible stories of naughtiness in the air. So, fasten your seatbelts – this ride could get, er, bumpy.

    LET'S PUT ON A SHOW! Two business class passengers heading from Dallas to Manchester, England, discovered one way to make flying American Airlines a little more enjoyable – by reclining their seats and going to town on each other. David Machin and Amanda Holt – both married to other people who were not on board at the time – reportedly spent nearly 4 hours getting to know one another in the intimate sense, while most of their fellow passengers slept. Both were found to be extremely drunk, and were arrested upon landing. Talk about having some 'splaining to do!

    GOING DOWN. ALL THE WAY DOWN. In 1991, a man and woman lost their lives in the crash of a Piper Seneca near Ocala, Florida, but this wasn't just any run-of-the-mill engine failure. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation revealed that "both occupants were partially clothed and the front right seat"  – where the male passenger was seated --   "was in the full aft reclining position." Cause of crash: The pilot's "improper inflight decision to divert her attention to other activities not related to the conduct of the flight." Yikes!

    STAR STRUCK Qantas flight attendant Lisa Robertson probably wasn't expecting to end up in actor Ralph Fiennes arms when she boarded her plane to Bombay, but that's exactly what happened, and then some. The blond divorcee was caught exiting the bathroom after tending to "The English Patient" actor's needs, leading to her dismissal. While their fling carried over to Fiennes' stay in India, it didn't last very long. As of December, Robertson was reportedly homeless and in trouble with the police in Melbourne, Australia.

    START 'EM YOUNG Virgin Atlantic enjoys its reputation as the sort of airline that turns a blind eye to discreet onboard hijinks – Sir Richard Branson, the airline's chief, likes to say that his staff aren't the sort to knock on lavatory doors. That could be down to Branson's own affection for the most satisfying kind of inflight entertainment. When flying the now-departed Laker Airways at the tender age of 19, Branson confessed to a liaison in the head, after which he had to wipe handprints off the mirror. Upon landing, the woman asked him politely to hang back, as she was meeting her husband at arrivals.

    THEN THERE WAS ONE... Flying drives us all crazy, but like this? A flight attendant working the New York-San Juan route back in the 1990s told Salon Magazine of a well-known sportscaster who seduced a fellow first class passenger – right in front of her distracted boyfriend. Seeing an opening when the boyfriend bolted for the lavs, the naughty couple snuck to the back of the plane for a quickie in the aft toilets. Apparently, they weren't quick enough – upon return, the cuckolded boyfriend was waiting in his seat, angry as a hornet. Upon landing, both men disappeared, leaving the woman to discover the joys of solo travel.

    BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL Sneaking off? That's so old-fashioned. A British model awoke from sleep during a flight from Bangalore, India to London, only to catch her boyfriend enjoying the company of a fellow female passenger under a blanket. Drunk but not too drunk to know the score, the girlfriend flew into a rage, sparking a fight that resulted in the threesome being arrested on arrival at Heathrow Airport. A police source told London's Sun newspaper: "They certainly put the bang in Bangalore."

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