A canceled flight might turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to you.
Back in 2015, Anna Gorga’s flight from the Azores to Lisbon was canceled. She was rebooked onto the next flight — where she met her future husband.
Gorga, who is Italian but was vacationing in the Azores, boarded the flight and sat down. The person sitting next to her asked to switch seats with the man seated near the window. And that’s how Gorga met Sean Kavanagh. They began talking and did not stop.
"I just remember immediately, obviously, thinking he was very cute and very sweet," Gorga told CNN Travel.
They landed in Lisbon and got coffee together, continuing their conversation. But they had to split ways. American Kavanagh was traveling to Israel and Gorga was headed home to Zurich. She said if Kavanagh ever happened to be in Zurich, he should give her a ring. She meant it in an offhand way, convinced they would never see each other again.
But then, Kavanagh showed up in Zurich a few months later. They spent a weekend together. And immediately made plans for a weekend in Spain together. They had a romantic time away but were uncertain what the future would bring. They were both headed to their homes in different countries, with no prospects of leaving.
After they parted ways, Gorga’s employer offered her a job stationed in Miami for a few months. She said yes, knowing the job would bring her closer to Kavanagh, who was based in Boston. They would meet for weekends in D.C. and travel around together. But at the end of this time, the relationship was still in limbo.
And then Gorga was offered a job in Boston. One year after meeting on a plane and navigating a long-distance relationship, the couple was living in the same city. And they moved in together.
"You meet each other on holiday and you wonder how's it going to be when it's real life," Gorga told CNN. "It was not easy, to be honest. Sometimes I wonder, why did I want to complicate my life so much?"
But they persevered through the distance. The couple got married in a civil ceremony in the U.S. last year but just last month returned to the Azores for a big ceremony with friends and family.
If anything, the story is major motivation to strike up conversation with a stranger. You never know where it might lead.
Apparently, the chances of finding love in the skies aren’t as improbable as some may believe. According to a survey from HSBC last year, one in every 50 people finds love on board an airplane. And even if it’s not romance, the study also said that one in every seven people makes a lifelong friend on a flight.
Just be sure your seatmate is equally interested in conversation.