This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Something incredibly special occurred today. On a flight over Chile on Thursday, two flight attendants got married to each other — and that’s unusual enough, but what makes it truly exceptional is who married them: Pope Francis.
The pope was onboard LATAM flight 1250 from Santiago, Chile (SCL) to Iquique (IQQ) — part of his South American tour. Among the flight attendants on the special chartered flight were Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga, 41, and Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, who approached the pontiff to take a photo as a couple.
Francis asked if the couple was married, and the two told them that they had planned to get married in 2010, but right before their wedding a massive earthquake hit Chile and destroyed the church where the ceremony was going to take place. Ciuffardi and Podest eventually had a civil ceremony in which they were legally wed, but the Catholic Church still didn’t consider the couple married.
To the couple’s surprise, Pope Francis asked if they wanted to get married right then and there, in the air.
The pope made sure that the couple was ok with a ceremony that would likely go viral — he then blessed their rings and married Ciuffardi and Podest, aboard the LATAM A321.
“He told me it’s historic, that there has never before been a pope who married someone aboard a plane,” the groom told journalists aboard the plane. The couple was met with applause from the cabin and held an impromptu press conference after being pronounced man and wife. The head of the Catholic Church said that the sacrament of marriage was missing in the world and that their marriage would hopefully encourage others to get married.
To make it official, LATAM Chairman Ignacio Cueto Plaza was a witness to the ceremony along with Monsignor Mauricio Rueda, a close assistant of the pope’s. Rueda also produced a hand-written marriage certificate, signed by the pope himself as “Celebrant, Francisco” — his signature is in the lower right corner in the image below.
“We can’t believe the pope married us,” said Ciuffardi. “We have a Vatican document, it’s all valid.”
The couple has two children, ages six and three, and plan on having a “tiny honeymoon” when they return to Santiago. They met at work over 10 years ago and both hold the rank of chief purser, although they weren’t operating as the pursers on this flight. Airlines usually place senior staff on papal flights due to the seriousness of the operation.
The flight number, LA1250, appears to be reserved for special LATAM flights. The two and half hour flight took off at 8:15am and landed 10:45am Thursday according to FlightRadar24.
Featured image by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards