Two Men Marry Aboard Virgin America Flight — Updated


(via The Daily

An update on this story from MSNBC:

Passengers on a red-eye woke up to an announcement more interesting than the typical "fasten your seatbelts" as they approached New York early Thursday: Two men had gotten married on board overnight when the captain briefly flew over Canada, where gay marriage is legal.

"The head flight attendant made the annoucement on the P.A. 'While you were sleeping, we had a little wedding in the galley. The captain diverted us over Canadian airspace so he could marry two gentlemen,'" said passenger Ryan McManus, who was returning home to New York.

The captain of Virgin America Flight 28, which originated in San Francisco, officiated the wedding, McManus quoted the flight attendant as saying. "We'd like to wish them the best and offer them a round of applause," he quoted the attendant as saying, noting that the passengers applauded on cue.

Mullenweg (who wrote the tweet), according to MSNBC, is the founding developer of blogging software WordPress.

Virgin America has not responded to MSNBC's request for comment.


  1. naughtylola says

    @Anon, is it how Maritime law works? Do the same laws apply (which I guess means you could actually get married over American airspace since you’re a mile away from the ground.)

  2. Steve says

    Maritime law is different. There are distinct zones of water that countries lay claim to. In airspace, the law from the country where the plane is registered applies until landing.

    Maybe there are exceptions to allow something like this. There are certainly laws and conventions covering this, but it can become complicated.

  3. Steve says

    IMO this was more symbolic than anything. I think a marriage license is still needed even with married by a ship or airplane captain.

    Regardless, this is still awesome. Major points to Virgin American.

  4. anon says

    A domestic flight is always under the same jurisdiction. An international flight is more complicated, but in most cases the terminal-to-terminal rule applies whereby at some point in the flight the applicable law changes, most likely during final descent. However, international airport terminals are under a kind of legal no-man’s land effect. At least until customs and passport check. Most case law involves births and murders or other crimes that need a particular timestamp. Theft, for example, is not clearly tied to a particular moment and is handled under the jurisdiction of the arrival terminal.

  5. Heronn says

    More importantly, Canadian marriage law states that a marriage has to be officiated by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has been individually authorized by name to officiate at weddings in the province or territory the wedding occurs in.* No ULC Ministers, no temporary commissions, no friends marrying the couple, no pilots, no ship captains. (And in most provinces, no judges or JPs.) And it’s not easy to receive a commission in most provinces; it can take years and a secular officiant may be required to take a one-year course first. A religious officiant must belong to an established church (not the ULC) and must be registered with the province.

    *Quaker marriages don’t require an officiant but they have to take place in the presence of an established congregation.

  6. Chris in Irvine says

    It was a nice gesture of the captain to allow this and divert the flight to Canada for a brief moment. Again, I think it was more a gesture towards marriage equality (from Virgin America) than actually officiating a gay marriage as a valid act.

  7. David says

    Totally symbolic…being a manager for Virgin America, this is totally something our crew would do – and the flight plans from west coast to JFK regularly cross some Canadian airspace.

  8. Robert william nelmes says

    Wow that is so awesome thats filled my heart with joy and eyes with tears i very strongly applaud and congratulate you both and it is such a shame and so wrong you had to resort to this to commit to the one you love x x x

Leave A Reply