‘Wingman’

02.10.14

Wingman, an App for Hookups at 30,000 Feet, Wants To Be the Tinder of Airline Travel

Want discreet sex while you fly the friendly skies? There’s an app for that.

The mile high club is a kind of not-so-secret society that has simultaneously enthralled and repulsed fliers since the beginning of time (slash-air travel).

On the one hand, some mid-flight sexy sex at 30,000 feet seems super hot, while on the other, getting it on in a tiny box that stinks of the, um, digested dinner of Larry in row 19 sounds like the seventh cubicle of hell.

It’s basically Sophie’s Choice.

But before you can skip right ahead to the enclosed space naughties, you have to find a willing plane pal, and that’s where Wingman—a new app designed to help you seek out hotties while roaming the skies—comes in.

The Tinder of airline travel is yet to hit the iTunes store, but development is already well underway at the hands of its 24-year-old creator, Gabe Whaley. That's what we're told at least—there's a chance this whole thing is a joke, so until we're flying high with the app in our hands, read this with a smirk.

“This isn’t my attempt to resolve some former incident where I didn’t get to meet the girl of my dreams,” Whaley explains of his new creation. “And naturally, it’s a bit controversial. But there is definitely something to be said about being able to engage with someone on a flight and seeing what the possibilities are from there.”

“On the one hand, some mid-flight sexy sex at 30,000 feet seems super hot, while on the other, getting it on in a tiny box that stinks of the, um, digested dinner of Larry in row 19 sounds like the seventh cubicle of hell.”

Wingman functions as your average swipe and type app. Users skim through photos of other sex-seeking singletons until they find a suitable match, judging them solely on the basis of their photo, name, age, and occupation. Then, using the magic of in-flight bluetooth/wifi, the messaging can begin.

Sure, it does sort of sound like a good idea—or at least, not an entirely terrible one—but there are a fair few stumbling blocks for this airborne action enabler.

Firstly, the average 747 holds around 500 passengers. That seems like a relatively small pool to be dipping into, right? Because a large proportion of those people will be either kids, pensioners or monogamous, and therefore probably won’t be all that into getting touched before touchdown. And, of the single, phone-obsessed fliers, who will actually be willing to cruise for an on-board bang?

It’s possible I’m diminishing Wingman’s scope here, so let’s say it proves to be super popular (maybe everybody forgot a book that day?), and hundreds of people sign up pre-flight. So, you’re swiping away when you stumble across a potential co-conspirator in your quest to pass the time.

We’ve all fallen victim to exchanging messages with a ‘Brad Pitt lookalike’ who turns out to be less Durden, more Dursley, so the only logical way of sidestepping this minefield is to casually sweep the aisle to check your match is all they seem. Now surely, this is going to lead to some serious crowding in the gangways, not to mention the awkwardness of locking eyes with your app-quaintance whilst having your dinner.

Everybody knows that the sheer horrible-ness of eating airplane food makes you horrible by default, and this kind of inopportune timing could be disastrous for your plane hook-up prospects.

Casting all this aside, say you find a potential suitor who can carry good insta-message conversation and doesn’t mind the way you inhale ‘meat’ (sure, they say it’s chicken, but lord knows it could quite literally be anything in there).

How, though, do you initiate the talking-in-real life part? I’ve been on my fair share of flights, and I can’t say I’ve sat next to many people willing to scoot over so I can screen someone for in-cubicle entertainment purposes. Unless some kind of sky-high musical chairs ensues, anything more than a cursory pre-potty hello could become a little tricky.

But maybe I’m over-complicating this. If you can deal with the queues of disgruntled moms and cross-legged kids outside the toilet door, and the snarky glances from passing airline hostesses once the app has been...utilized to its full effect, then there’s really nothing to stop you getting your swipe on.

Plus, Wingman makes a whole lot more sense than some of its ’casual romance’ competitors, like the salad dating app that matches people up based on their lunch preferences. Healthy eaters find their ‘salad soulmate’ by entering a few short details about what kind of toppings turn them on, with the app then arranging a lunch-meet. It’s a great marketing ploy for sure, but the thought of a blazing romance being determined off whether someone takes ranch or Italian seems, frankly, bizarre. Bizarre and stupid.

And let’s not leave out the unique approach of Slydial, which enables users to be connected directly to somebody’s answerphone without the awkwardness of waiting for their phone to ring. I’m not sure who decided that leaving drunk voicemails for a person you’ve just met would be less embarrassing than slurring to them while they’re on the line, but hey - modern romance is confusing for us all.

In truth, Wingman kinda looks like the best of a bad bunch, and I’ll be keeping an eye out on future flights for any lusty swipers posing provocatively across the armrests. I’ll just make sure I’ve used the bathroom first.