For most frequent travellers, gaining membership to the Mile High Club remains top of their bucket list, and with an increasing number of cheap tickets, routes and destinations, more jet setters are taking the chance to join an almost mythical club.
Through cinema and popular culture, the cool and powerful have always gotten away with it – from Ralph Fiennes to Chris Brown. One imagines Charlie Sheen and Mick Jagger are long time black-card holders. However outside of the world of celebrities and private jets, membership is rare.
First, most are unaware of the illegality of the act and ought to fear the possible consequences of indecent exposure. So, membership is potentially an offence under section 71 of the Sexual Offences Act 2004, and could result in six months’ imprisonment or a £1,000 fine.
Fortunately, there have been no reported cases of prosecutions under British law, and nothing in civil aviation law specifically relates to sex at 30,000 feet.
However, be warned! Destination is key: applications for club membership are ill advised on flights from Islamabad to Riyadh.
Secondly, anyone who travels frequently knows that sinking feeling as you board the flight, look down at ticket number 23b and nervously look up, only to find a screaming baby, unattractive chatterbox or bearded believer. The odds of being sat next to that perfect combination of looks and flirtatiousness ranks close to that of the Euromillions.
Thirdly, even if one were to sit next to someone where the possibility of club entry seemed vaguely realistic, for the average air traveller, the idea of fornicating in a four by two prefabricated cubicle that hundreds of other passengers use is utterly disgusting.
Even the logistics of trying to be attractive and complete the said act in a shrunken port-a-potty are enough to turn most off.
Why then does its allure remain?
The answer is simple. It’s a club harder to get into than Annabel’s, and the waiting list has to be tens of millions and counting.
Everyone knows someone who knows someone who is a member and, naturally, people want what they haven’t got or experienced. Sex, adrenalin, risk and notoriety combined are one hell of a thing, and somehow, it feels like you would gain Richard Branson’s respect if you managed to do it on one of his flights.
The ‘club’ is also far from merely a chauvinistic pursuit: women are just as keen to join, and for every Liam Neeson there’s a Miranda Kerr or Janet Jackson.
I know of a charming young Oxbridge student who, after a Christmas family holiday, managed to make his mark half way though a British Airways return flight from Cape Town to London. Suffice to say, he is now a legend at his gentlemen’s society and college sports clubs.
The ‘Mile High Club’ is naughty, risky and sexy, and for many the allure of an airborne tryst endures: if the opportunity arises, take it. Odds are it’s unlikely to present itself again in the near future. And if passengers prove unwilling, there’s usually a trolley dolly who can oblige.