My boyfriend and I met in an airport lounge and have been dating long-distance ever since
15.11.2023 - 11:39
As a travel writer, I spend a lot of time in airline lounges, but I never imagined that's where I'd meet my soulmate.
Earlier this year I was in the United Polaris lounge at Washington Dulles lingering over a late lunch and contemplating heading to the gate to board my flight to Paris. As I peeked at the bar, buzzing with other passengers waiting for their long-haul overnight flights, I decided to stay for one more round.
I grabbed a stool and ordered a glass of Champagne. A few minutes later, a handsome man with salt-and-pepper hair approached, attempting to get the busy bartender's attention. I offered up my spot since I was leaving soon, and I asked him what he was drinking. "Lagavulin," he answered, in an accent I couldn't quite place. I was drawn to his warm, expressive, wide-set eyes.
We started talking. He told me his name was Janick and he was Belgian. A former airline pilot, he now worked as a private pilot, flying his billionaire boss around the world for business and pleasure. His boss was staying in Washington, DC, so Janick was traveling on a commercial flight back home to Brussels. As a plane nerd, I was intrigued — I check Flightradar24 every time I see an aircraft overhead, and I'm never happy unless I have a bunch of trips planned.
We talked about aviation, scotch, and Champagne, and we compared notes on a few of our favorite destinations. He was engaging, smart, funny, and easy to talk to. Our interaction lasted maybe 15 minutes, but the spark was palpable, and there was a genuine connection. Feeling emboldened by the bubbly, I handed him my business card and told him to let me know the next time he was in DC. He admitted later that he sat staring at my card, wanting to text me immediately but wondering if it was too forward.
Before I even settled into my seat in business class, though, my phone dinged. He said that he was glad to have met, that he wished we could've talked longer, and that he'd definitely reach out the next time he was in town. Our playful WhatsApp banter continued throughout our flights, the virtual flirtation soon peppered with heart and kissy-face emojis. Eventually we said goodnight, but we texted again in the morning. It was sweet and just felt right.
That began a three-month courtship of texting, calling, and sending each other photos of our trips. In June I told him I was coming back to France the next month and asked if he'd be up for me visiting him first. He said that sounded perfect, adding that he'd happily fulfill my request for moules frites and Belgian beer.
Our first date lasted 30 hours. We packed in so much that it felt like we were making up for the time we'd been apart. We drove an hour and a half to the charming city of Bruges (we didn't stop