I've always heard euphemisms about pilots having sex with flight attendants or passengers while flying, but I'm wondering, does this ever happen on commercial flights or in general aviation?

Have there been incidents of sex in the cockpit when the participants got caught or their actions lead to something more disastrous (like a crash) wherein the truth about their actions was clearly exposed?

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    $\begingroup$ My guess is that this is one of many things that have changed in the passing years. I can assure you, though, that in the decade of the 1990s it did occasionally occur in airline cockpits, and before that in general aviation as well. In particular in the days of the 3-man cockpit, the f.e. seat in both the 727 and the 747 had approximately 270 degrees of rotation, which allowed for excellent positioning. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 1:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Related meta discussion $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ pro tip: make sure the intercom is not on ;-) $\endgroup$
    – summerrain
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Terry: Tell us more! :P $\endgroup$
    – Scrontch
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 9:22

2 Answers 2


As jwenting said, it's unlikely to happen for many reasons, and if it does, the participants are even less likely to admit it since doing so could get them in trouble both professionally, and with a government regulatory agency for endangering safety. I seem to remember the FAA taking action against a pilot who posted photographs of himself flying with either naked or bikini clad women at his side, but I can't seem to find a link right now.

There is one NTSB report which is somewhat famous in the aviation community for describing a general aviation crash which was likely caused by sexual activity. However, the summary is very delicately worded, to say the least:

The private pilot and a pilot rated passenger were going to practice simulated instrument flight. Witnesses observed the airplane's right wing fail in a dive and crash. Examination of the wreckage and bodies revealed that both occupants were partially clothed and the front right seat was in the full aft reclining position. Neither body showed evidence of seatbelts or shoulder harnesses being worn. Examination of the individuals' clothing revealed no evidence of ripping or distress to the zippers and belts.

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    $\begingroup$ ah, the beauty of bureaucratese. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ The "probable cause" section is even more delicately worded: "probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: the pilot in command's improper inflight decision to divert her attention to other activities not related to the conduct of the flight" $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2015 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @user568458 Sounds like an F18 'diverting' to a Boeing 747 $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 16:41

Does it happen? Unlikely. The cockpit is a rather cramped environment with lots of sharp edges, knobs and switches sticking out, wouldn't be a lot of space for sexual encounters...
Also, crews are usually rather busy. Flight crew during the phases before and after cruise, cabin crew during cruise.

I'd not be surprised if there's the occasional romantic encounter in the crew rest areas of large aircraft on intercontinental flights but I'm pretty sure those involved will keep it quiet as it's no doubt a violation of company policy and could get those involved fired if they brag about it.
Far better to wait until you're on the ground in a crew hotel...

And even then, the promiscuity of airline staff is almost certainly way less than rumour would have it. These are not adolescent college kids on spring break, they're professionals on a tiring job where they can't drink and need regulation rest hours to be ready and fresh for the return trip the next day.

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    $\begingroup$ regarding your last paragraph it greatly depends on which airline you are talking about. Also plenty of overnights have adequate time for legal drinking. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, casey is right. IIRC, the FAA rule is 8 hours "bottle to throttle," though it's my understanding that many (or most) airlines require 12. Additionally, in regards to the last paragraph, it actually used to be the case that almost all FAs were young, attractive, single females. It was actually a job requirement back before anti-discrimination regulations and public opinion changed that several decades ago. It's actually still the case in many parts of the world, especially Asia. Not so much in the West, though. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 5:05
  • $\begingroup$ @reirab I agree about the stereotypical FA of the past and that's partially what prompted the question. $\endgroup$
    – ebrohman
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ British Airways (or its predecessor) had an upper age limit and also a requirement that the FA be unmarried. Obviously pre-Sex Discrimination Act. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ I am a pilot/mechanic and do not know of any recent 'activity'. But as recently as 2003 I was riding in the jump seat of a cargo 727. The FO came back from the terminal a little pissed and said they missed an 'opportunity' because I was in the jump seat. Later the crew told me they got sex from occasional passengers riding in the jump seat. I was surprised to learn that quit a few women hang out in airports and try to bum a ride from cargo haulers. I didn't ask for details, but I assume they took turns "checking the cargo". I was told the same thing by a pilot flying twin commuters. $\endgroup$
    – jwzumwalt
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 14:21

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