RFT 450: The Flying Fahans
After flying planes around the world together for years, married couple Joe and Margrit Fahan co-piloted their last flight on August 13.
The Fahans have both been pilots for more than 30 years and have been co-pilots on a Delta Airbus A330-300 aircraft for the past six years.
The couple met while they were flying for the same commuter airline in New Jersey in the early 1980s. At the time, both Joe and Margrit were married to other spouses. Years later, when they were both single, they ran into each other again.
The Fahans got married in 1992 and had two sons, both of whom went on to become pilots.
The pilot couple met in the early '80s.
When the coronavirus pandemic impacted travel in the US earlier in the year, their once-busy flight schedule was almost entirely grounded. They flew just a handful of flights after mid-March.
"When COVID hit, everything shut down. It just really came to a screeching halt, especially international travel," Joe told Insider.
In July, the couple accepted an offer made by Delta Air Lines to retire early due to the lack of flights. Joe, 63, was nearing the required commercial airline pilot retirement age of 65, but Margrit, 60, still had a few years left in the career.
"I still might do something else. I am enjoying a little bit of time off here and there, but I'm looking for other opportunities," Margrit said.
The Fahans can look back on many years of co-piloting memories and stories.
The couple started their @flyingfahans Instagram account a few years ago to document their experience as married pilots. They recently posted a video marking their retirement.
In the video, the couple documented the experience of receiving a water salute, an aviation tradition to honor airline service in which fire hoses spray arcs of water over the plane.
Some people have asked the Fahans how they managed to work together as a married couple.
"We do get some people saying, 'I could never work with my spouse,'" Joe said. "My usual answer to them is: 'One day you're gonna be retired, and you'll have to get along with them then.'"
The couple is enjoying retirement but said they are open to future opportunities in aviation.