Fair Warning: I’m a liberal arts major.
The natural concern of a staunch introvert and hopeless romantic boarding a plane is, €œWho will be occupying the seat next to mine?€ A man personally known to my father met his wife on a relatively short domestic flight. They were married days after and will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in the near future. We€™ll throw that story out as anecdotal. Meeting a cute girl on a plane is one thing, but I demand a decently long period of dating before throwing my life into a permanent commitment. That said, I am not opposed to meeting a nice girl on a flight. I think I€™d rather enjoy sharing my row with some sweet cute young thing. This has never really happened. I mean, one young girl fell asleep on my shoulder, but she was merely passable. The whole thing has me wondering, €œWhat are the odds of finding yourself next to an attractive girl on an airplane?€ Well, one man found his odds of meeting a potential life partner on any given night out in London as about .00034% through application of the Drake Equation. The only catch is, for the Drake Equation to be a valid equation we must be willing to take a remarkable amount of bull from Frank Drake. Let€™s assume that I€™m the kind of person that does take a lot of bull from others€¦ – a dangerous assumption indeed! Adaptation of the Drake Equation is a common sense procedure. The odds of sitting with a cute girl on an airplane is about:
T = Total number of people flying on a particular plane.
f = Percentage of traveling population that will be female. In theory, this will be about 50%-51% varying slightly depending on region. However, a cross section of those traveling by air does not necessarily reflect the general population. I€™d venture that slightly fewer females fly than males. I have no statistical basis for this, just observation. If this is indeed true, I€™d blame the business man for skewing the percentages ever so slightly. All that, until I have evidence to the contrary, I will mark this variable as 50%.
a = Percentage of girls you find attractive. For me, this is about . If you are a girl with 4 female friends, the odds are I find at least one of you physically attractive. If you ask me about your friends and I tell you I find none of them attractive, then you may just be your group€™s looker.
a2 = Percentage of girls aboard that fall into your age range. A hard-fast rule for datable ages comes from Randall Munroe. The minimum age you can date is calculated at . I€™m 19, so my minimum datable age is 17. This holds as legal in most jurisdictions and not only a little socially awkward. To calculate the maximum age you can date, simply solve for your age. I€™ll save you a little time: maximum datable age = 2(your age – 7). You€™ll note that the older you get the wider the range of ages you are allowed to date. My percentage range is from 17 to 24. I have no idea what percentage of the general population this accounts for.
s = The number of seats on the plane. Right now I am onboard an A320 with 148 seats. This will vary by the particular flight, but about 150 seats is true of most domestic flights.
s and T will be equal if the flight is packed. This actually works in your favor.
So, here is what we have so far:
%Chance of sitting next to a cute girl as calculated for various estimations of a2:
.3 % = 3%/10
3% = 30%/10
6% = 60%/10
Well, you get the idea. Your odds are bad.
Which explains why I€™m now sitting with two guys who are reading a Maxim magazine, the very definition of dirtbag.
Note: I€™ve assumed that you only have one seat bordering you. So you are in an aisle or window seat. If you€™re one of those people who likes to live dangerously and sit in the middle just divide your s value by 2.