Cubicle coupling in an airport loo is too much for Sharon Stephenson.

There are times in life when swearing seems an entirely appropriate response. Sometimes, it is the only response.

Stumbling across a couple having relations in a toilet at Heathrow's Terminal Three definitely fell into the latter category.

A smidgen of context: I'd been away from home for three weeks, criss-crossing the globe and dutifully filling pages with notes to be moulded into travel stories when I got home. I was tired, it was hot and sticky - the way only London in June can do hot and sticky - and, having lugged an overweight suitcase on three Tube lines, none of which had escalators (how do the disabled get on in this city?), my sanity had almost completed its unravelling.

All I wanted to do was zip across 12 time zones and sink into the welcome embrace of my own bed.

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But Heathrow, always an exercise in stretching patience, had other ideas.

"If Dante had lived today, and spent any time in Heathrow, his circles of hell would probably have looked very different," said the chap in front of me as we waited an eternity to check in. I couldn't have agreed more.

One quick loo stop, I thought, and I would be ready to board. Except my choice of toilet turned out to be the wrong one and as soon as I entered, I heard the distinct sound of coupling coming from the disabled cubicle. Despite coughing loudly to let the inhabitants know that they weren't alone, the tryst continued.

I should have made my way out of there faster than an Exocet missile but my bladder made me stay. So I uttered several bad words, did what I had to do as quickly as possible and got the hell out of Dodge.

Apparently I'm not alone. A recent survey by flight comparison website Jetcost.co.uk of 2520 British people found that airports have become the new Mile High Club, with one in 10 over the age of 18 admitting to doing the wild thing in airports. Of those who had pre-flight sex, 76 per cent opted for a rendezvous in the toilets, and 21 per cent decided to take the risk in storage areas.

When asked why they did it, 32 per cent admitted to being "in the holiday spirit", and 27 per cent said they liked the thrill of not knowing if they would get caught.

Only 12 per cent 'fessed up to having been caught by staff or members of the public.

Antoine Michelat, co-founder of Jetcost.co.uk, reported being shocked by the results. "We're surprised more people haven't been caught in the act. Clearly, intimate acts in airports are even more common than those that take place on planes!"

To determine whether it was purely a UK trend, 1000 Europeans were also surveyed. The results showed that the Italians (17 per cent) were the most amorous in airports, followed by the Spanish (14 per cent) and the Germans (8 per cent), with the French lagging behind with only 3 per cent.

Not to be left out, the Americans are also at it, with plainclothes police at the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International in Georgia, arresting more than 30 people in three months for indecent exposure and public sex acts in the toilets.

Don't say you weren't warned.