For $995 (€880), Love Cloud takes you and a partner on a private plane for 45 minutes so you can have sex.
Of course, you don’t have to have sex on the plane. You could pay $1,195 (€1,050) to get married on board. For $100 (€88) more, it can be reserved for a romantic one-course meal; for $1,595 (€1,400), you will be entitled to three classes. With any package, an additional $300 (€260) will get you a bottle of champagne and a ride to the tarmac in a limo.
But according to Andy Johnson, 40, pilot and founder of Love Cloud, his Mile High Club flight, which comes with a commemorative membership card signed by the pilot, remains the company’s most popular offering.
“You come in with a smile on your face and you leave with a bigger smile on your face,” said Johnson, a fast-talking dad who is from Virginia and lives in Summerlin, on the west end of Las Vegas. .
He spoke with great passion and good humor about his company, which operates out of Las Vegas’ North Airport, calling his two Cessna 414 planes “magic carpets” and gleefully recounting the flaws and quirks of some of its most memorable clients, including a couple who showed up dressed as pilots and flight attendants. Love Cloud primarily books couples but has accommodated groups of three or four, for an additional $200 (€180) per person.
Those who purchase the Mile High Club Flight will find an airplane decorated with a double mattress on the floor and several pillows, all in red satin. A curtain separates the passengers from the pilot, who wears noise-canceling headphones and remains in the cockpit for the duration of the flight. Yes, the aircraft and its bedding are cleaned after each trip.
Customers who purchase a Romantic Dinner Flight will see the mattress replaced with a table, chairs and a small bar. But aside from the optional champagne, no alcohol is served on Love Cloud flights.
“We help people not get divorced, I’ll tell you right now,” Johnson said. It may sound like hyperbole, but some clients have said the experience was good for their relationship.
Lost in the moment, a couple found themselves pressed for time: “I have never dressed so quickly in my life”
Chris Gutierrez Lopez, 30, a customer service agent who lives in Rohnert Park, Calif., surprised his partner of 10 years, Diego Fuentes, with a Love Cloud dinner flight in November after the two went through a rough patch.
“I had issues with my partner, so I had to make sure it was more for him than for me,” Lopez said. “That’s why I took the romantic package rather than the mile high.” Once on board, the two received a three-course meal from Mezzo Bistro, a Las Vegas restaurant, which provides the food on all dinner flights.
His plan was a success. “When we finally got on the plane, he was smiling ear to ear,” said Lopez, who added that if they booked another flight, he planned to do things a little differently. “Next time is a mile high,” he said.
Frelima Howard, 45, a party planner in Victorville, Calif., received the one-mile flight as a “belated wedding gift” from a friend in 2016.
“My husband and I had already joined the mile-high club, so being able to do it privately was awesome,” she said. “It was really nice and exclusive and private.”
Howard lives about three hours from Las Vegas and considers herself a connoisseur of the city’s attractions, including escape rooms, ziplines and helicopter rides that she says she’s taken “way too many times.” But she and her husband, Keith Howard, agreed that their Love Cloud ride remains their favorite experience in the city.
“It just wasn’t long enough,” said Keith Howard, 56. His wife agreed. Lost in the moment, the couple found themselves pressed for time. “I’ve never dressed so fast in my life,” she said.
A mile-high flight was also given as a gift to Katherin Nguyen, 28, an X-ray technologist in Houston, who said her husband, Brandon Nguyen, surprised her while they were visiting Las Vegas in January for his birthday.
“I’ve always wanted to do this, but it only happens in movies,” she said. “I didn’t think there was anything like this.”
Brian Álvarez, an anthropologist whose company Psionic Artworks offers a range of services including cultural tours of Las Vegas, said Love Cloud follows a historical pattern in his hometown.
Johnson and Blake also think their company would make a great reality TV show, similar to Bravo’s Under Deck.
“We have always been at the forefront of entrepreneurship in the entertainment world,” Álvarez said. He sees Love Cloud, which combines elements of attractions like helicopter rides, wedding chapels and honeymoon suites in hotels, as part of a line of local novelties like underwater slot machines. and a topless dancer who performed dressed as a polar bear on a synthetic iceberg.
Johnson, who also works as a commercial pilot for Mesa Airlines, has aviation in her blood. “I could fly before I even knew how to drive,” he said. His father was a naval aviator and worked as a pilot. By age 20, Johnson was teaching flight lessons; and at 24, he ran Tidewater, a flight school and aircraft rental business in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
According to court records, Johnson’s pilot license was temporarily suspended in 2009 by the Federal Aviation Administration after improper aircraft certifications related to Tidewater in 2007 and 2008. His license was revoked in 2011 for flying while suspended. .
In 2012, after a minor plane crash during his dismissal, Johnson pleaded guilty to careless operation of an aircraft and served 20 days in federal prison. He ended up filing for bankruptcy and returned to live with his parents.
“Talk about a shot,” Johnson said of that time. “We all make mistakes. That’s it, that’s life.”
In 2014, he moved from his parents’ home in Virginia to a motel north of Las Vegas. “It was just kind of rebuilding your life and starting over,” he said. “And that’s what Vegas did for me.”
A few months after his arrival, he had made Love Cloud take off. “What better city to get a second chance than Vegas?” he said. Johnson hired other pilots to fly his planes for Love Cloud until he got his license reinstated in June 2018. His company and planes are up to code.
Johnson’s business partner Tony Blake, 52, who is also a pilot, was aware of Johnson’s past when he joined the company full-time last year. “He had a very tough journey, and here we are 10 years later,” Blake said. “He’s really turned a corner, and he’s a better man for it.”
Blake is more concerned about the future than the past. He said they were working on expanding Love Cloud to Los Angeles. Johnson and Blake also think their company would make a great reality show, similar to Bravo’s Under Deck.
“I mean, you can’t make this stuff up, man,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of good material.” – This article originally appeared in The New York Times