I know what you're thinking, what a clickbait headline. But for reals, I did fall in love with a stranger on a plane.

Let me set the scene for you: It was a Wednesday afternoon, and the lovely gals from the dating app Bumble were flying me to Melbourne to attend Oaks Day, which is part of the week-long extravaganza that is the Melbourne Cup.

Premium - Sinead in the City: What it's really like to go to The Emmys
Sinead In The City: I got Botox and it's the best thing I ever did, sorry
Sinead in The City: Where to watch the Melbourne Cup in Auckland
Sinead In The City: How the TV show Friends would be different in 2019


I'd just sweatily jostled my way through Auckland's airport security and was milling about in Duty-Free, mulling over how it is quite grim travelling as a single person – because when you turn your phone back on after landing, you don't have any texts asking you how your flight was and if you got there safely.

I was mid-pathetic, self-pitying spinster mope when I received a random DM on Instagram. Seven words, screaming at me in ALL CAPS!


A second, slightly more informative message quickly followed:

"Laptop at security sis!"

Somewhat alarmed, I sprinted back through security to retrieve my laptop – and no sooner did I receive a third message, like I was Tom Cruise in some sort of spy movie, waiting for my self-destructing instructions.

"Thoughts on a pre-flight marg?"

Now look, obviously had this Instagram Stranger been a man I'd have my stranger-danger reservations about meeting up with him at an airport bar – but it was a gal!


Turns out Anna worked in my building and was catching the same flight to Melbourne as me – what are the actual chances?

Over a platter of mediocre airport tacos and carafes of mediocre airport margaritas – Anna and I fell head over heels in platonic love.

We spent the next few hours getting pissed, and Anna generously paid $6 for us to have the world's most excruciating rub down in those horrific airport massage chairs.

Now – if this isn't a Nancy Meyers rom-com waiting to happen, I don't know what is – 'cause guess what happened next?

On boarding the plane, we discovered we had also been seated next to each other – just like Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper in the atrocious cinematic trash that is the movie Valentine's Day.

In both a blessing and a curse, we also discovered, despite being on an international four-hour flight, our airline had no TV screens and only 15 minutes of wifi. So modern! So namaste!


This meant that instead of plugging in to watch Sex and The City 2, Anna and I spent the next four hours drinking the plane dry of their finest $8 pinot gris, and playing Hangman like it was 1997.

Exactly like that scene in Bridesmaids where Becca and Rita get absolutely chopped on cocktails and have an emotional deep and meaningful (you know the one) - Anna and I did the same.

I poured my pinot gris-soaked heart out to her about how I recently fell for a married man who had emotionally batted me around like a bored cat with a ball of yarn – and by the end of the flight, we had reached top-tier, BFF status.

We had an emotional farewell on arriving in Melbourne and have messaged each other relentlessly ever since.

I spent the next two days partying it up with a whole bunch of fabulous women at the Melbourne Cup Bumble event – and while I'm quite certain Bumble hadn't executed this rom-com meet-cute between Anna and I, they bloody well may as well have.

A bit of background for you - as well as being a dating app, Bumble is a social networking app that empowers women to make the first move - in friendship and professional networking as well.


"After the launch of Bumble Date, users were starting to connect as friends, so we decided to launch BFF," says the app's founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd.

"We want to build meaningful connections empowering women in all facets of their lives - be that relationships, friendships or business networking."

My favourite writer Dolly Alderton says that friendships, particularly with women, need to be treated with the same sanctity, respect, time, love and care as romantic relationships, and I couldn't agree more.

Grim new research conducted by Statistics New Zealand for the General Social Survey found that over 35 per cent of New Zealand women aged between 15-34 years regularly experience feelings of loneliness.

Statistics New Zealand also found that over 20 per cent of New Zealand women don't have face-to-face contact with friends at least once a week, a determining factor in the rapid rise of loneliness in New Zealand.

Now, this isn't meant to be a brag – but while I don't have a boyfriend (which, by the way, just like Emma Watson, I'm very fine with) I do have a ton of girlfriends – so I'd never think to jump on an app to find more.


But here's the thing mates: just like Dolly Alderton, nearly everything I know about love I've learnt from my friendships with women, and on this flight to Melbourne I realised you can never have too many gal pals.

Now by no means am I telling you to rip out your headphones on a flight and spark up a chitchat with whatever poor soul you're sitting next to – who's probably just trying to enjoy watching The Magic Showman in peace while smashing back some cassava chips – BUT! Let me hit you with some facts.

According to an HSBC survey, which asked more than 5000 travellers across the globe about their flight experiences and the onboard connections they've made, one in every 50 travellers has met the love of their life on a plane.

The study also found that 16 per cent of travellers had formed a business connection on a flight, while 14 per cent made long-lasting friendships with people they met while flying. That's heaps, you guys!

So, next time you're mooching about the airport on your own – why not download a dating app and see if there's any other solo-moochers around who you could smash back some crap margaritas with?

Failing that, leave your laptop in airport security and wait for a Prince or Princess Charming to slide into your DMs.