11 Things You Didn't Know About the Mile High Club

For most dudes, even a routine flight offers the promise of joining the Mile High Club -- that's why we've told you about airlines, apps, and even secrets to help you get away with it. But what about fascinating facts you can use to (maybe) woo attractive women sitting next to you on the plane? To help with that, we've put together 11 things about the MHC that you should absolutely know.

Flickr/DLR German Aerospace Center

1. Autopilot is the whole reason the Mile High Club exists

When early aviator Lawrence Burst Sperry invented the autopilot in 1914, it allowed pilots to… uh, do things other than steer the plane.

lawrence sperry and plane
Wikimedia Commons

2. Not surprisingly, Sperry was also the Mile High Club's very first member

According to aviation folklore (and the New York newsies), Sperry reportedly crashed his plane off Long Island after accidentally disengaging his newly invented autopilot while "teaching a local socialite how to fly" (or rather, showing her his newly invented autopilot wink wink).

bathroom occupied
Flickr/Neil Tackaberry

3. Everyone's doing it

A 2010 survey conducted by Sensis Condoms says that three percent of flyers claim to have engaged in some sort of funny business during a flight. A 2011 Skyscanner survey found a whopping 20 percent making the same claim, although 17 percent of them said it was with a girl they met at camp. And you, like, totally wouldn't know her.


The dip in atmospheric pressure is said to increase orgasmic intensity. The higher you fly, the less oxygen is in the air (you get mild hypoxia), which many believe leads to a better orgasm. Another, very simple explanation, is that the plane’s vibrations heighten arousal.

flickr/Gareth Williams

5. Brits have the most in-flight intercourse

Apparently, those buttoned up Brits are the friskiest flyers. According to another Skyscanner survey of 700 cabin crew members, Brits lead the unofficial Mile High membership rolls, followed closely by the Australians, Germans, French, and Brazilians.


6. There are rules

To be considered eligible for membership, sexual intercourse has to occur at an altitude of at least 5,280ft (one mile, obviously) and in an airplane, according to milehighclub.com. Many disagree, however, since that number is irrelevant in aviation and even Sperry wasn't flying that high.

singapore air first class
Singapore Airlines Limited/Weber Shandwick NYC

7.  Singapore Airlines had to ban the Mile High Club

Not long after proudly unveiling its super luxe, double-decker Airbus A380 (equipped with $10k per person, double-bed “suites”), Singapore Air publicly asked passengers to stop having sex in them. Because while they may seem private, they aren’t soundproof.

Flickr/Matt @ PEK

8.  There are actual airlines operating exclusively to help people get busy at altitude

Cincinnati's Flamingo Air, for example, offers a romantic romp in the sky for $425, which includes one hour on a private plane (and a comfy mattress), champagne, chocolates, and “one very discreet pilot." Another airline that lets you have sex (from $799), Love Cloud even offers complimentary condoms and lube.


9. Disneyland had its own version of the Mile High Club

While playing Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, apparently Tom Hanks became familiar with the park and its secrets. He told Conan O’Brien that the sheer number of people getting frisky on the Skyway gondola (which transported visitors from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland, of course) led Disney to remove it in 1999.

Flickr/Keith Allison

10. It might be illegal

Investigating whether joining the MHC broke any laws, the BBC concluded that it did -- at least for British law -- constitute sex in a public place, punishable by a six-month prison sentence. In the US, one can be charged with anything from indecent exposure to interference with the flight crew, the latter of which can carry a max sentence of 20 years in jail.

sexy plane cleaning

11. Even Sigmund Freud had something to say about it

He once wrote that the fantasy of flight has “infantile erotic roots”, and explained all flying dreams as representing sexual desires. Then again, that dude saw sex in everything.

Sophie-Claire Hoeller is Thrillist's associate travel editor and has been on planes on the reg since she was four weeks old, but has never witnessed any funny business. Follow her at @Sohostyle.

This article was originally published on March 20, 2014.