Some 13 million Americans purport to be part of the Mile High Club. Sound like a lot of people? Not when you consider that it only accounts for 4 percent of the American population. What’s more, these Mile High Club members are mostly men.

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A recentish study found that men are three times as likely as women to bang in an airplane bathroom. It’s an aspirational thing, too: 25 percent of Americans—that’s close to 80 million people—said that they hoped to join the Mile High Club. What’s holding them back? Well, let’s see: airplane bathrooms are incredibly small and often smell horrible. Flight attendants are vigilant. There are only a few bathrooms on board any plane, and no one wants to be the jerk who holds up a line.

Nevertheless, people make the magic happen. How do they get it done? If you are one of the 80 million Americans wanting to join The Club, read on.

Travel at night.

The first and most important rule of the Mile High Club (MHC) is to fly at night. Overnight flights are designed to put passengers to sleep: Blankets and pillows are passed out, dinner is served, and the lights go out. Not only do your fellow fliers doze off, but so does more than half of the overnight flight crew, who will take turns napping. Few people are awake. Few people need the restroom. The sky is suddenly full of possibilities.

You’ll have better luck in first or business class.

If you can afford it, book your red-eye ticket far away from economy. It’s not a coincidence that the majority of current members of the MHC are high earners. It’s not because they have a higher libido, it’s because they have nicer airplane bathrooms.

...Preferably on an Airbus 380.

Bathrooms—especially first and business class bathrooms—on the A380 are big and beautiful. (Well, as big and beautiful as possible for a commercial jet.) Many airlines have these planes in their fleet for international travel: British Airways, Air France, Qantas, Lufthansa. A quick search on the internet will reveal to you where they are currently flying. Conversely, when booking tickets online through a consolidator, you can always see the plane the airline will be using.

...Preferably to/from Asia.

A few of the Asian and South East Asian carriers take the A380 bathrooms to a whole new level. Depending on the airline and the flight, you could easily mistake them for a restroom at a day spa. Orchids. Cloth hand towels. Some of them even have full showers and cushioned bench seats. It’s like they were designed (and who’s to say they weren’t?) for sky-high sex.

Have a drink.

It is rumored that booze hits you harder when you’re five miles high, which means that everyone is a cheap date—and for this endeavor, you’re going to need to be a little less inhibited. Tucking into a nice gin and tonic after take off is the perfect way to settle into a flight, especially if you’re thinking of slipping away to a mid-air, midnight rendezvous. Order drinks with your travel partner and share a toast as the lights go out and everyone else falls asleep.

Head to the bathroom separately.

Once everyone else on the plane is asleep, excuse yourself to the bathroom. You’ll meet your partner there, and he or she should wait a minute or two before joining you.

The moment of truth has arrived.

Even if you’ve ended up in an economy class bathroom with barely enough room to pivot, you can still make magic happen: put the lid down and sit. Stand against the door. You can figure it out. (Consider, even, planning your positions in advance so as not to waste time fumbling and adjusting with your partner.) While it won’t be particularly comfortable, it will be a really good story—and just like that, you’re a card-carrying member of the MHC.


M.R. Branwen is the editor of Slush Pile Magazine, the longtime senior reader of fiction at Harvard Review, and the consulting fiction editor of DigBoston. You can find more her writing in The Adirondack Review andThe Missouri Review.

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Flygirl is Jezebel’s travel blog dedicated to adventures big and small, tips and tricks for navigation, and exploring the world at large.