How to plan the perfect proposal… in the sky

Popping the question on a plane has become increasingly popular, and there are many meaningful reasons why a plane is a perfect place to propose, from couples meeting inflight to crew members who think proposing in the cabin is cute.

For Joshua Meloney, who booked a vacation to Cancun with his girlfriend with the intention of proposing during the trip, he simply couldn’t wait anymore.

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“Proposing on the flight was by no means a foregone conclusion, but more of an idea I had been toying with leading up to the trip. Once we boarded the plane and were able to sit in the two seat exit row, I decided Flight 1607 was where I would ask her to marry me,” Meloney wrote on Nuts About Southwest, the blog for Southwest Airlines. Needless to say, the couple was flying high after the proposal.

Arvin Shandiz proposed to Alexandra Williams on a Delta Air Lines flight nearly two years after meeting her on a Delta Air Lines flight from New York to Chicago. With the crew’s permission, Shandiz proposed over the airplane’s intercom and fellow passengers toasted the happy couple. The video subsequently went viral.

Even airline crew have chosen their workplace for the perfect proposal.

Pilot Eric Greener proposed to Alaskan Airlines flight attendant Brandy Hollenbeck last year on a commercial flight. The flight crew had snuck him onboard, and he popped the question when Hollenbeck was handing out beverages.

Of course, sometimes you don’t even need to rely on a commercial airline crew to plan the perfect proposal at 30,000 feet. The latest mile high proposal features a pilot who faked an in-flight emergency to propose to his girlfriend aboard a private plane.

In case you wish to top these awesome airplane proposals, here are some tips for pulling off the perfect proposal.

How to plan an in-flight proposal

  • Keep it a secret and a surprise. Paul King found it challenging to keep his plans for a mid-air proposal a secret. When he booked a surprise trip to Iceland, a destination his girlfriend Kelly Hansen had on her bucket list, he knew she would suspect a proposal was in the works once the destination was revealed. So King proposed in the departures section of Toronto Pearson International Airport instead.

  • Ask for help from the airline. There are many examples of flight crew going above and beyond, and what better way to switch up a routine flight than with a fun proposal? Call the airlines’ call center or public relations team to discuss the proposal and what you would like to do. The airline will contact the flight services manager and flight crew to help facilitate an in-flight proposal.
  • Pick a long(ish) flight. Avoid flights that are under an hour. “There really is no ‘ideal’ flight for a proposal other than to try and avoid shorter flights as there would be less time for cabin crew to assist,” said Sandra, a flight attendant for Porter Airlines. The extra flight time also allows for distracting issues, like turbulence or flight delays.
  • Be selective about seating. An aisle seat makes it easier to get up and propose while first class or business class provides ample legroom to get down on one knee. “It may be a good idea to be seated anywhere near where cabin crew make their PA announcements – usually at the front of the cabin or near a galley,” said Sandra.
engagement ring

Bring on the bling. (Image: BuzzFarmers, Wanna get married? via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

  • Pack smart. Don’t risk putting the ring in your pocket, since you will be asked to empty all pockets before heading through the airport security screening. The last thing you want is to be put on the spot to empty your pockets in front of your significant other. Notifying the airline ahead of time also mitigates the risk of pre-flight faux pas as the airline typically works with ground crew and airport personnel to make sure the proposal, from getting through security to securing permission to propose over the intercom, goes smoothly.

Is this suitcase holding a secret? (David Masters, 365 x14 All Packed Up and Ready To Go via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

  • No peeking! Pack your own bags and don’t let your travel companion go through your stuff.
  • Arrive early. Meet the crew and airline support staff (many airlines send representatives, typically the public relations team, to ensure the proposal is perfect as in-flight proposal videos tend to go viral). Plus, the airline will usually film, or help coordinate someone like a flight attendant to film, the proposal. Can you say best souvenir ever?
  • Introduce yourself. “Upon boarding, the person proposing should approach the in-flight manager or purser and let him/her know of his intentions,” said Sandra. “Most cabin crew will be more than happy to assist. They can let the captain know as well and either the captain or the purser can make some sort of an announcement once in cruising altitude,” Of course, if you have called the airline beforehand, the crew will likely already be briefed on your plans prior to your arrival. If your proposal involves the help of other passengers, the flight attendants should help discreetly manage this for you, too.
  • Be sure. You know your fiancée best. Ensure your fiancée will appreciate a public proposal (and say yes!). It could get really awkward really fast if your beloved declines your proposal, particularly if you still have many more flying hours (and a trip) ahead of you.
  • Be flexible. No matter how much you plan and coordinate, your proposed proposal plans may not go according to plan due to flight delays, inclement weather and/or turbulence. Working with the airline will help reduce the amount of stress and potential setbacks, but be flexible and go with the flow.
  • Be ready. The moment is here and you’re ready, but is the love of your life? Make sure he or she is awake and (relatively) camera ready since passengers are sure to be looking your way, snapping photos and shooting video that will likely be posted all over the Internet.
  • Just do it. Take a deep breath, take the plunge and create some mile-high magic. Live in the moment; it’s one of the happiest of your life.
Champagne inflight

Cheers! (Image: Sarah Ackerman, Drinking Dom Perignon via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

  • Celebrate. Whether you choose to celebrate with flowers, a Champagne toast or treats with fellow travelers (or all three), be sure to coordinate with the airline in advance. The airline staff can help bring the goodies on board and distribute them after the proposal.


Main image: iStockPhoto/Lorand Gelner

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