OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — It was a packed flight that captured hearts and created memories for years to come. For an Oklahoma newlywed couple, it was a direct path to foreverness.
Save the dates and RSVPs were not required for the passengers onboard Flight 2690 from Dallas to Las Vegas last week. These party crashers boarded their aircraft to soon become witnesses to a wedding 37,000 feet somewhere over Arizona.
What once was thought as merely a joke, turned into reality as Pam and Jeremy Salda hinted on April 19 that they should hop on a plane to get married in Las Vegas.
Dreams soon became reality five days later, thanks to the love of strangers and a Southwest Airlines flight crew.
The couple, who had been dating since August 2020, booked travel to Sin City last Sunday on an American Airlines flight and kept it secret from their family and friends.
They traveled in full wedding attire just for the fun of it, with a 9 p.m. Vegas wedding chapel appointment. However, their itinerary took them through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where their final leg to Vegas was eventually canceled after several delays due to stormy weather.
The weather was cloudy, muggy and breezy during the day with winds out of the south. However, thunderstorms came through about 6 p.m. with wind gusts of 40 mph.
After searching, the couple was able to find another Vegas-bound flight on Southwest. According to the airline, passenger Chris Kligora was also traveling to Las Vegas from Dallas-Fort Worth and overheard the couple discussing how they might still get to the chapel in time for their ceremony. It just so happens the stranger and soon-to-be witness was an ordained minister and offered to marry the couple himself.
The three went online, snatched up the last seats to Vegas and shared an Uber across town to Dallas Love Field Airport.
As the couple boarded the flight, their pilot noticed the bride-to-be’s wedding dress and asked her about it. She told the captain their story and joked that they should just get married inflight. To her surprise, the captain said, "Let’s do it!" The flight crew rushed to hang toilet paper streamers and make a snack-mix sash for the minister.
"We were thrilled to play host to Pam and Jeremy’s special day," Southwest officials said in a written statement to FOX Weather. "Our employees are famous for their heart and hospitality, and we know our crew, our customers, and the couple will remember this flight for a long time to come."
Customers onboard turned on their call buttons to light the aircraft as the bride walked down the aisle. Flight attendant Julie Reynolds even stood in as the maid of honor. What would an official wedding be without a professional photographer? Yes, there was one of those on the flight as well. Kaitlyn Manzer pulled out her camera and volunteered to document the event.
"As she starts walking down the aisle, everybody's phones come out, video starts going. They're flipping on their flash and back lights to light it up. The whole plane lights up! She's walking down in this white dress like an angel," Jeremy Salda said.
And let’s not forget about a passenger standing in as a guestbook attendant who passed around an old notebook for the whole cabin to sign with well-wishes and their seat numbers.
"My voice just started to crack because it was so touching. People really wrote very sweet, kind, congratulatory notes and how it just it brightened their day. And that's what it's all about. If you can do something and make another person's day brighter, why not? And we're happy to have been able to do that," Pam Salda said.
Another passenger offered up a leftover powdered donut as a makeshift wedding cake.
The Saldas have some advice of any engaged couple worrying about weather throwing some turbulence on their big day.
"Just don't worry about it. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, and you can't change it. The time's going to come, and you're going to be married whether it's rain or shine. So make the most of what you get because it's going to be memorable in some way," Pam Salda said.
And that is was — a truly a memorable inflight wedding that no one aboard is likely to forget.