Name: The mile-high club.
Appearance: Sexy, up in the air.
Age: Dates to the late 18th century.
But that’s well before the advent of powered flight. Yes, but the betting book of Brooks’s gentlemen’s club contains a 1785 record of a wager between two lords, one of whom was to receive 500 guineas from the other if he had sex “in a balloon 1,000 yards from the Earth”.
Sorry to be a pedant, but 1,000 yards is some way short of a mile high. Fast-forward, then, to 1916: daredevil Lawrence Sperry, inventor of the autopilot, is giving a hands-free flying lesson to a Mrs Polk when his plane crashes into a Long Island bay. Rescuers find the survivors naked, making Sperry and Polk joint founders of the mile-high club.
How does it work in modern times? It varies, but typically two people, not necessarily previously acquainted, become intimate in an aeroplane toilet mid-flight.
Why would anyone want to have sex in a plane toilet? To save the blushes of fellow passengers.
I mean, why wouldn’t you just wait until you got home? For the thrill of accomplishing something forbidden.
Is it forbidden? Generally – but no longer! For $995 (£736), Las Vegas charter service Love Cloud will take you on a 45-minute flight in a Cessna equipped with a bed, for the express purpose of having sex with someone while airborne.
Huh. Do I get to meet the person before? You have to bring your own partner.
A thousand bucks, other person not provided? Yes, but after that each additional passenger is only $200.
What else do I get for that money? A certificate verifying membership of the mile-high club, signed by the pilot.
How does the pilot verify things? He wears noise-cancelling headphones throughout, so he’ll take your word for it.
What about champagne? Champagne is extra.
And people really go for this? They seem to. “My husband and I had joined the mile-high club before, so to be able to do it privately was great,” party planner Frelima Howard told the New York Times. “It was really nice and exclusive and private.”
Could the idea take off in the UK? Not without difficulty. In 2011 the Civil Aviation Authority refused to recertify an outfit called Mile High Flights, claiming that inflight sex was too distracting for pilots.
Do say: “Please exercise care when opening the overhead locker – the Fletchers are in there.”
Don’t say: “How much for eight minutes?”