Ana Uribe was traveling from Australia to South America to visit friends and family back home. And with over 14 hours of flying ahead of her, she likely expected the journey to be long and boring. However, not long into the journey, the captain came onto the intercom and called her name.
Uribe herself originally comes from Columbia; throughout her life, though, she has traveled far and wide. As a result, in 2016, she found herself living in Sydney, Australia – far away from many of her friends and family.
So, after four years Down Under, Uribe decided that it was time to return home to catch up with her kids and parents. And, as part of her journey to Columbia, she booked onto a flight with Australian airline Qantas. That particular part of the trip would take her from Melbourne to Los Angeles in California.
Furthermore, Flight QF93 was led by Captain Dooley Ellis, a 30-year veteran with Quantas – so Uribe should have been in safe hands. Flying planes was in the Australian’s blood, too, as his dad had also been a pilot for the same airline.
And in the fall of 2016 Uribe boarded that flight; as far as we know, take-off went smoothly. Then, once the plane had reached cruising altitude, Captain Ellis came on the intercom to speak to his passengers – but he had an unusual announcement to make.
The unfolding events were captured on camera, and in the resulting footage, Ellis reveals, “We also have a special passenger on board today, folks. Her name is Ana. She’s traveling back to South America now to visit her family.”
Ellis is of course referring to Uribe – his girlfriend of four years. And it appears that the pilot is anxious about letting his other half return home to her loved ones for two months. “I want to make sure she comes back to me in Australia,” he subsequently says.
By this point, everyone on the plane may be wondering what on earth is happening. Meanwhile, Uribe herself is seen giggling away in first class. But the reason behind Ellis’ impromptu intercom announcement is about to become very clear.
Still speaking to the whole plane, Ellis asks Uribe a question in her native Spanish tongue. “So now that I have her complete attention: Ana, quieres casarte conmigo?” he says. Moments later, he clarifies his intentions in English. “Will you marry me?” he adds.
Then, after his romantic proposal, Ellis emerges from the cockpit to find his girlfriend. Equipped with a ring and a bouquet of flowers, he gets down on one knee, ready for Uribe’s response. And despite her shock, she says yes, after which the pair seal the deal with a loving kiss.
Ellis and Uribe had first encountered each other in 2012, when they both completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in northern Spain. The religious journey sees participants typically walk hundreds of miles to finish at Galia’s Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Describing the origins of his and Uribe’s relationship, Ellis told news.com.au in 2016, “We walked across the whole of Spain together, over 1,000 kilometres (621 miles). The next thing I knew, I was in Colombia visiting her.”
From there, Ellis and Uribe’s romance continued to blossom. And despite the distance between them, they found ways to be together. “She spent time with me in Texas before visiting me in Australia. That was it,” Ellis revealed.
Soon after, Uribe relocated to be with Ellis. “We have been living together in Sydney for the last four years,” he said to news.com.au. And since then, exploration has been a big part of their lives. “We traveled Australia camping, and in 2016 we drove from Sydney to Cape York for six weeks camping with the crocodiles,” Ellis continued.
As a result, it felt right to the captain to incorporate their love of travel into his proposal. “I wanted to bring my life – as a pilot of 30 years with Qantas and whose father was also a Qantas captain – and Ana’s life together in that special moment that only I could achieve,” he explained.
Ellis had been eager to keep the proposal a secret, however, so he had had to come up with a creative way to explain why a camera crew was on board. “I did mention weeks before the flight that the new uniform was being launched and that my flight was to be targeted by the media,” he revealed.
And the pilot’s little white lie apparently paid off, because judging from Uribe’s reaction she couldn’t have been more surprised. Meanwhile, Qantas would later share the heartwarming footage of the proposal on Facebook. There, the romantic clip proved popular, attracting over one million viewers and 28,000 reactions.
Among those drawn to the video were some of Uribe’s fellow passengers on the day of her proposal. And in the comments, they shared their delight at her and her fiancé’s happy news. “What a memorable flight it was. Certainly a day I will never forget,” wrote one. “Congrats again, Dooley and Ana.”
Meanwhile, another person wrote, “Very happy for you, beautiful Ana and Dooley. You made this a wonderful and memorable experience for everyone on board. I wish you a lifetime of happiness and love.”
So, in the end, all Ellis’ efforts were worth it. “I wanted everyone not only on board the aircraft but spanning the world to know how I feel about Ana,” the pilot would tell news.com.au. And thanks to the video of his proposal, millions of people across the globe now get to share in their happiness, too.