Wingman started as a joke. Gabe Whaley, creator of the forthcoming app, was getting off of a flight when he had a revelation: what if something like Tinder existed on airplanes? If you were bored in the middle of a long sojourn, you could pull out your phone, see if any fellow passengers spark your fancy, swipe right, and let your libido be your guide.
“I’m pretty sure that at some point, anyone who’s flown has had a thought, like, ‘I wonder what it would be like to talk to that person. Too bad it’s never going to happen, because the seating arrangement didn’t provide for that,’” Whaley, a 24-year-old copywriter in New York, tells ANIMAL. “And of course, most people have at least some sort of exposure to what the mile high club is.”
Wingman isn’t available yet, but you can sign up for notifications about its development here. Whaley and an informal group of friends have been working on it since early December, and hope to have a beta available by April, with a full release sometime over the summer. They’re unsure whether the app will make it through Apple’s famously stringent App Store guidelines; if they’re denied, it will exist as a mobile web page.
The functionality is similar to Tinder, with some minor modifications. Users create a profile with their picture, first name, age, occupation, flight number and the airline they’re traveling with, and winkingly, whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure. The app displays a list of travelers on the same flight, and if you find one attractive, you can opt to start a conversation.
“I think it will make people curious, and you never know: someone might use it, and it might start a conversation that they might not have otherwise had,” Whaley says. “It could turn out to be really good, or really bad. Either way, I think it’s really funny.”
Whaley concedes that it’s “incredibly unrealistic” that people will use his app as a matchmaking service for having sex while flying, but believes it’s a worthwhile endeavor anyway. “Whether they go through with it or not has nothing to do with the app,” he says. “It has everything to do with them. ”
(Photo: Anthony Citrano)