An Air Travel Love Story That’s Part Gift Of The Magi, Part Before Sunrise

In Richard Linklater’s 1995 classic Before Sunrise young American Ethan Hawke is traveling Europe and meets Frenchwoman Julie Delpy on a train. They disembark together in Vienna and spend the night talking, walking the city, and falling in love.

At the end of the film they don’t exchange numbers. Instead they plan to meet up again in Europe in six months, and the film ends leaving viewers wondering whether they actually do (a question that’s answered 9 years later in the outstanding Before Sunset).

Like Julie Delpey’s character in Before Sunrise Salma Saade and her boyfriend Finlay McAfee were together in Europe and Finlay traveled to see her – and spent a night wandering around a major European city. Only he did it in Paris, alone. And they met on Tinder, not on a train. But bear with me for the story.

They were both students at the University of Edinburgh. She was flying back from Beirut with a night’s stopover in Paris. So he flew to Paris to meet up with her and spend the evening together in the City of Light.

Only she couldn’t wait to see him, too, so she changed her plans to catch and earlier flight from Paris to Edinburgh. In fact her plane was landing in Scotland’s capital as his was boarding. Her story has been liked over a million times on Twitter.

In The Gift Of The Maji Della Young discovers that she has only $1.87 to buy a present for her husband Jim. Since the story was first published in 1905, that would be about $55 today. She tops up her cash by selling her long hair, and uses the money to buy him a chain for his pocket watch. He, on the other hand, gives her new combs with which to brush her hair. He got the money by selling his watch. The gift giving was all screwed up, but illustrated the lengths they’d go for each other.

Salma Saade and Finlay McAfee have a great romantic story involving travel and airports and missed connections. Their challenge will be, like Hawke and Dely’s in 2013’s Before Midnight, to see each other when they are no longer young and the challenges and tradeoffs the world presents wear off some of the luster, to find the reason that they couldn’t be apart in the first place – the motivation to take that earlier flight, or hop a plane, just to be with that one special person.

(HT: Tommy L.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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