Romance blooms on a short, crowded flight to Atlanta
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6:19 p.m.
Delta Air Lines. Flight 1874, Jacksonville to Atlanta. Seats 40A and 40B.
Love was in the air.
Chris Ferraro and Andre Conover found themselves sitting next to each other on Oct. 22, 2010. Chris, 39, was on his way to Pittsburgh for a conference. Andre, 30, was going home to Los Angeles. She had been in Dekle Beach to inspect a house for her boss.
Both of them had a long layover in Atlanta. Neither one was looking for love, but both of them found it in a crowded airplane.
Their story has taken off. Delta has created a promotional video about how they met, and also made a blog post about the couple, who now live in Gainesville.
She said he whacked her as he took off his jacket, and she forgave him. He doesn't think he bumped her.
He talked over the safety video, and she shushed him.
He noticed that she was wearing an enormous diamond ring that was out of place on someone sitting in one of the worst seats on the plane. He called her out for wearing a fake engagement ring. She was shocked that he had uncovered what she called her “creeper'' ring.
They both realized they had a four-hour layover.
After they landed in Atlanta, Chris asked Andre to have dinner at the Heineken Bar and Grill in the airport. They did not flirt during the flight or the dinner, but after dinner he gave her his business card.
When they were done eating, he walked her to Gate A10 and kissed her goodbye. “I had butterflies,'' she says on the video.
“I was telling the women on the plane what had happened, and they were like, ‘Oh, that's so sweet,'” she said.
They emailed each other while they were on their separate flights that day. “From that plane ride on, we've been in contact every day,” she said.
One year later, Andre had to go to Dekle Beach again, this time to see an insurance adjuster. Chris accompanied her.
The adjuster never showed up, but while they were waiting, Chris gave her a Coach handbag.
“You've never seen a woman so disappointed to get a Coach bag in her whole life,” he said.
Inside the handbag were two handwritten plane tickets. They read, “Destination: Florida. Class: Wife.”
Andre decided to email Delta to see if she could get peanuts and cookies from the airline as party favors for their wedding, set for Oct. 14, 2012.
She didn't know that she had contacted CEO Richard Anderson. He sent her a replica of the plane the couple had met on, pilot wings with their names on them - and the peanuts and cookies.
Chris and Andre were also allowed access to the tarmac by Gate A10 for a photo shoot.
“Delta's definitely a part of our lives now,” she said. “They're a great matchmaker.''
Andre said you will find love when you least expect it.
“We've told the story hundreds of times,” she said. “Not that we take it for granted or anything, but it's amazing each time we tell it we get the same reaction. And that is, ‘Wow.'”
They now live in Gainesville, where Andre is a Lifesouth Community Blood Center administrative assistant, and Chris teaches civil engineering at the University of Florida.
Chris marvels that if only one thing had been different, they would never have met.
“Just one row,'' he said. “If she's in 41B, we're not having this conversation.''