It was love at first flight — even though she couldn’t stand him at first sight.
Love was unexpectedly in the air for a New York woman who was randomly seated next to the “most annoying” person on a cross-country flight from the Big Apple to Los Angeles.
And although she didn’t think they were a match made in heaven initially, owing to the irritating guy’s “messy” presentation, the improbable pair almost immediately felt as if they were on cloud nine.
“It’s not anything I ever expected, as I never thought that I’d meet someone so different from me, but also so much the same, and fall in love,” Krystina Burton, 35, a Broadway professional dancer told NeedToKnow, of her initial encounter with now-partner Gabriel, 39, in July 2018. “I think our story is a true testament to ‘opposites attract.’”
Burton, who was traveling to the West Coast for an audition at the time, first noticed Gabriel, a digital marketing specialist, when he plopped down in the seat next to her in an empty airport terminal ahead of their flight — a nuisance that sent the pro twirler spiraling.
“He was so messy and his bag kept spilling over onto my side of the chair,” she recalled of her would-be beau. “I had a major eye roll moment when I noticed that he was sitting next to me on the plane too, as he was already a problem outside of a confined space.”
She’d hoped to ignore the schlub on the plane, but Cupid had other plans.
“On board, I sat down and tried to put my headphones in as fast as possible, but before I could he asked me: ‘Weren’t you sitting next to me in the terminal?,’” said Burton, admitting her unmistakably snarky response.
“I replied: ‘Actually, you were sitting next to me – with all your stuff everywhere,’” she remembered. “I found it kind of cheeky, but as he started laughing, my opinion of him instantly changed — he wasn’t annoying at all.”
After Burton let her guard down, things between the seat buddies were fast on the up and up.
“We didn’t stop talking the entire flight and exchanged numbers right away,” she said.
“I felt such an intense spark of attraction – we just clicked.”
And Gabriel, who was headed to L.A. for his cousin’s wedding, felt it too.
“She had such a beautiful smile and made me feel so calm,” he gushed. “As we got off the plane, I told her that I was going to come back and find her in a week as something happened that I couldn’t describe.”
“I wanted to find out more about her and where our relationship would go,” said the smitten sweetheart.
Over the next week, the unlikely lovebirds spent hours texting and chatting via FaceTime ahead of their first date — which lasted three days.
But Burton decided their extended date night wasn’t long enough.
She moved in with him a few weeks later.
Gabriel proposed during a romantic getaway to Italy in October 2019. The destined darlings eloped in Paris last year.
The differing duo’s out-of-the-blue love is similar to that of New Yorkers Matt Robertson and Khani Le, who spontaneously caught a flight to Coast Rica on their third date in March 2020 and were ultimately stranded together in Central America for nearly three months due to the pandemic. It’s also reminiscent of the romance between Spirit Airlines stewards Hunter Smith-Lihas and his now-husband John Lihas, who both felt as if they were floating on air after engaging in a five-minute conversation that led to a lifetime of love.
“It just goes to show you never know who you’re going to meet,” said Lihas to CNN. “When and where, you just never know who that one person is going to be,” added the flight attendant.
For Burton and Gabriel, flying high has become the theme of their marriage.
“We’re so nomadic now, as traveling has become a huge part of our lives especially as it’s what brought us together,” said Burton, noting that she and Gabriel are in talks about embarking on what will be their greatest adventure — having kids.
“I really like my life and there’s so much I still want to do, but I’d like to start a family soon,” she said, adding, “I’d love to have a little Gabe running around.”
But until they welcome a tiny tot into the world, the jet-setting newlyweds are simply enjoying the ride of love.
“There is still so much to explore within our relationship, even after all this time,” said Burton. “Five years in, we’re still learning each other and while our surroundings continually change, we are the constant; we wake up and choose each other every day.”
And despite their initial turbulence, she feels her love was written on the stars.
“I’m a firm believer that the future isn’t our business,” Burton said, “as long as we show up, it’ll happen and sometimes that means expecting the unexpected.”