An unexpected birthday celebration over Iowa

You tried to be slightly subtle about it, though that’s hard with a glittery tiara. Shortly after we departed San Francisco you pulled the small blue box out of your bag and extracted the sparkling birthday gag gift from your boss. A few brief moments of positioning and a handful of quick selfies from your seat got the shot you wanted. A couple quick taps and the photo was shared on Facebook; the tiara returned to its box and the box to your bag.

That should’ve been the end of the story but I had different plans in mind.

Read more: Buying a round of drinks in flight

The “50” centered on the headpiece tipped me off that this was likely a milestone birthday trip. It was just a hunch, but a pretty good one and it proved to be correct. Somewhere over Iowa I decided we should celebrate your birthday, but I also wanted it to be a surprise.

I headed back to the galley and explained the situation to one of the flight attendants.  I was going to buy you a bottle of bubbly to celebrate but, again, the surprise factor played in. I needed the crew’s cooperation. The flight attendant decided the celebration should be a little bigger so our whole row would get a drink, not just you.

You were pretty shocked when she wished you a “Happy Birthday” and even more so when the splits of sparkling wine were delivered. The crew even went a step further when you mentioned two other friends also in the plane and also celebrating birthdays this week. They got to drink as well. Not too shabby for your first flight in the airline en route to a festive week in New York City.

And I could barely contain my smile watching it all play out. Happy 50th birthday, 7C.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. That is so awesome! It is the spirit of surprise and delight for your fellow travelers makes it from just another flight to something they’ll have a story to talk about.

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