Airplane scenes that define all our relationship goals

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Amid the packing, the jet lag and the hurry-up-and-wait, there’s an inarguable romance that goes hand in hand (pun intended) with flying. Soaring through the sky in a dimly lit cabin, surrounded by sleeping passengers, with nothing but home makeover shows and Dixie cups of cab sauv to keep you company. Who hasn’t hoped their seat mate just happened to be a single stranger with a foreign lilt, maybe who forgot to pack a certain in-flight essential (because really, what better icebreaker is there than, “Excuse me, do you happen to have an extra pair of headphones I could borrow? I just need to hear what the family thinks of their new home makeover”). Talk about relationship goals. 

While an in-flight fling of the non-fiction variety may not be in the cards for most of us, it’s no wonder some of our favorite scenes from movies and TV have included romances born—or, you know, bred—on flights. 

Here’s a list of a few in-air affairs that have provided some ‘shipping of the airborne variety. Fasten your seat belts and turn on those fans, because things are about to heat up. (Well, as much as they can in a temperature-controlled cabin. So, 61 degrees Fahrenheit).

That time Meghan picked up Air Marshal John, “Bridesmaids”

gif of airplane scene from Bridesmaids

Melissa McCarthy’s character Meghan is on a flight to Las Vegas for her soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bachelorette party and is seated beside a man she’s convinced is an air marshal (played McCarthy’s IRL husband, Ben Falcone, making the scene just that much better). After a sufficiently uncomfortable amount of sexual harassment, we find out that the man is in fact an air marshal, and Meghan is in fact an incredibly astute woman in a golf caddy outfit. Fast-forward to the end of the movie, and (spoiler alert) they’re a couple, as well as the proud owners of a brood of bow-wearing puppies. #RelationshipGoals.

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That time Mindy and Danny make out in the back of the plane, “The Mindy Project”

gif of airplane scene from the Mindy Project

After two seasons of hinting at a budding romance between odd-couple OB/GYNs Mindy and Danny, the game-changing moment in their relationship came in the second season finale, when they share a passionate make-out sesh in the suspiciously spacious back cabin while the rest of the passengers sleep. Talk about an epic first kiss. (In an interview, the show writers mentioned they chose an airplane as the setting for the kiss because of the inherent “emotionally charged atmosphere”—we get it, who doesn’t cry watching animated movies on planes? But we digress.)

That time Leonardo DiCaprio wore a pilot outfit, “Catch Me If You Can”

Deaprio in pilot's uniform from Catch Me If You Can
It’s gotta be the briefcase SOURCE: SLYINDOORSMOKES.TUMBLR.COM

While not technically a couple, we couldn’t omit Leo as teenage con artist Frank Abagnale dresses in a pilot’s uniform (especially after his recent Oscar win), surrounded by his entourage of feather-haired Pan Am flight attendants, all of whom have no idea they’ve been recruited to conceal Frank from the FBI agents on his tail. The fact that this ingenious bad-boy maneuver was based on true events, coupled with Leo’s excellent aviator-wearing, make this one of our favorite airport movie scenes of all time.

That time Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom met on a plane and all your teenage dreams came true, “Elizabethtown”

gif of Kirsten Dunst in "Elizabethtown"
Take a picture, it’ll last longer SOURCE: PAPERFEATHER42.TUMBLR.COM

Chances are you haven’t thought about this movie for the past 10 years, so let us refresh your memory — the year was 2005. Orlando Bloom was a “Tiger Beat” poster incarnate. His character (shoe designer Drew Baylor, because of course) is on a near-empty red-eye home for his father’s funeral and gets to chatting with the Southern belle flight attendant (Kirsten Dunst), who draws him a map of Louisville and makes tasteless puns using his dead dad’s name (okay, it sounds way less cute on paper). And from there, a Gen X tragicomic love story was born.

That time Rachel got off the plane, “Friends”

gif from Friends

A list of in-flight scenes would not be complete without the most infamous disembarkment in sitcom history — when Rachel got off the plane. For those who haven’t Netflixed the series finale of “Friends” enough times for the theme-song claps to become a reflex, Rachel is moving to Paris and en route to the airport when Ross realizes that after ten seasons of unrequited lobster-dom, he does, in fact, love her. He races to JFK to tell her before she gets on the plane, only to find out her plane leaves from Newark. Phoebe stalls the flight using methods one could only describe as not legal, and they catch Rachel just in time for Ross to confess his love before she boards. Back at home, a dejected Ross gets a voicemail from Rachel in which he hears her try to get off the plane before take-off, but is blocked by the flight crew. Then the apartment door swings open, and their tumultuous relationship culminates in the words fans had been waiting for for a decade: “I got off the plane.” Talk about airport romance, right?

 Main image: istockphoto/nicomenijes

Airplane scenes that define all our relationship goals was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Chelsey Burnside
Author: Chelsey Burnside (22 posts)

Chelsey is a travel, fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Her work also appears in The Coveteur, The Ottawa Citizen, The Toronto Star and various notebooks left in airports.