It might seem totally impractical and embarrassing to engage in sexual activity on an airplane — but the mile high club has been around a lot longer than you think. According to the official website, it all started in the winter of 1916, when one particular pilot was giving flying lessons to a New York socialite and created the autopilot feature so he could have sex with her while flying. Things went wrong, however, and the plane plunged 500 feet into a bay below.
They both survived, but it left us wondering — what’s the mile high club like today? From flight attendants reporting on what they’ve seen to passengers who’ve done the deed above 5,280 feet themselves, here’s what we found out.
You can get away with it without landing in jail — but it’s still highly frowned upon
This one may surprise you. If you’re traveling internationally, this varies — but for domestic flights across the U.S., technically speaking, it’s not illegal to join the mile high club as long as you do it right.
If you are having sex at 5,280 feet or above, it’s vital that you’re not exposing yourself to other passengers. Thrillist says indecent exposure or interference with flight crew can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years in the U.S. And if you’re under British law, BBC News says it’s criminal to have sex in a public bathroom. Even if you’re in a scenario where it’s not technically illegal, be prepared for shameful looks for anyone who notices what you’re up to.