For those of you not familiar with Grindr, it’s a gay location based social networking application (I think that’s the PG-rated way to describe it?).
Over the past few days a story has gone viral based on the below Tweet:
As you can see, it has been retweeted over 31,000 times, and has been favorited about 220,000 times. Also, if you follow any meme accounts on Instagram or anything, you may have very well seen this.
The supposed backstory of this incident
The New York Post has the story of what supposedly happened here:
- A 27 year old was traveling from Minneapolis to Chicago on Delta in August
- When the flight landed, he received a message from someone 90 feet away saying “I see you’re on my flight. Enjoy the ride to Chicago,” which he claims was sent 30 minutes before the plane landed
- When he saw this, his reaction was that he needed to get off the plane as fast as he could, because he has had some weird experiences with “proximity stuff” on Grindr
- He then decided to message the guy (after deciding he needed to get off the plane as soon as possible), and said the pilot seemed like a “nice guy”
- When he landed in Nashville that day he decided to delete Grindr
- He said he would have met the pilot in retrospect
Leave it to me to overanalyze this
I wouldn’t be writing about this, except the story has gone really viral, and I think there are a few inconsistencies here. I’m not suggesting anyone is lying, but rather I think at a minimum there may have been a misunderstanding here. And since many people are suggesting that it’s irresponsible for the pilot to be using Grindr during the flight, I do think it’s fair to come to the supposed pilot’s defense here.
I don’t want to say the guy on Twitter is making this up, though something doesn’t add up:
- First of all, if you’re connected to airplane Wi-Fi, Grindr will not load and connect you to nearby people (and I’ve confirmed this with several people who are both frequent Grindr users and frequent flyers); so there’s no way the pilot messaged the passenger during the flight based on his location
- Let’s look at the timestamps of all this — the message was supposedly sent at 5:23AM, and he says it was sent 30 minutes before landing, so unless Delta has some secretive pre-5AM departure from Minneapolis to Chicago that I’m missing, that doesn’t add up
- It doesn’t even seem probable that the pilot could have sent this before departure; the earliest flight from Minneapolis to Chicago in the schedule departs at 6:50AM
- While the supposed pilot’s profile picture is of a cockpit, it sure looks to me like the cockpit of a single-engine plane, based on the prop that’s in front (it’s possible I’m seeing something incorrectly here, but I’m fairly confident)
- The guy claims he was flying Delta and was connecting the same day to Nashville, but Delta doesn’t fly from Chicago to Nashville
- Something about the guy’s logic seems off — he’s creeped out about being messaged using a location-based networking application and decides he needs to get off the plane as quickly as possible, then talks to the guy, and then deletes the app
So yeah, not that this needs to be investigated to MH370 levels, but I think it’s safe to assume that something here really doesn’t add up, and there’s not a need for Delta to investigate or anything.
If the pilot was messaging, it was before the flight took off, and it sounds like the pilot was being appropriate. However, it seems much more likely that this was just someone else messaging pretending to be a pilot, or something. Or given the other inconsistencies, this may just be fake news altogether.
To Grindr experts, pilots, and all others — what’s your take on this situation?