Flying high

Pete Buttigieg talks about his proposal to husband Chasten at O’Hare Airport


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New Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was a guest on Late Night With Seth Myers on Monday.

The former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Presidential candidate nominee, talked about his new role in the Biden administration, having to attend his first meeting in the Oval Office via video link, and how excited President Biden gets when talking about trains.

He also talked about how the new administration wants to invest money in boosting transportation infrastructure.

Related: Pete Buttigieg becomes America’s first out Cabinet member

But besides policy, Pete also talked about his personal life. He revealed that far from being bland, airports can be places of romance. He talked of proposing marriage to his partner, Chasten, at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

Pete chose the spot because Chasten was at Terminal B5 at O’Hare when they first connected via the dating app, Hinge, in 2015. When the two men were passing through there to board a vacation flight together in late 2017, Buttigieg asked Chasten to show him the exact spot he’d been when they first communicated with each other.

“I found this app that I could check on when it was going to be quiet at that gate based on when planes were coming and going,” said Pete.

“I kind of guided him into that spot, I was like, ‘Why don’t you show me that spot where you first were when we started chatting with each other?’

“I invited him to look out the window there and then got on one knee. I told him it would be a lot like being in the airport. Life with me would be probably hard to steal private moments but also full of adventure. And, uh, luckily for me he said ‘yes.’”

“That’s fantastic,” replied Meyers. “And considering how many divorces have started in O’Hare I think it’s nice that there’s at least one story about a marriage starting.”

Chasten talked about Pete’s O’Hare proposal in his 2020 memoir, I Have Something To Tell You. When Pete got down on one knee, Chasten said, “I really, really hadn’t seen it coming, but of course I said yes.”

The men then grabbed coffees and boarded their flight.

“I spent the whole flight looking over at Peter. How did I get so lucky?” recalled Chasten.

The couple married on June 16, 2018, in a private ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend.

Related: Pete and Chasten Buttigieg get standing ovation attending NYC gay play

Pete previously mentioned he’d proposed at O’Hare last December when accepting his nomination to be Secretary of Transportation, saying that in his mind, travel is “synonymous with growth, with adventure — even love. So much so that I proposed to my husband Chasten in an airport terminal. Don’t let anybody tell you that O’Hare isn’t romantic.”

In response, the official O’Hare Twitter profile tweeted, “Thank you for appreciating all the connections we make possible, @PeteButtigieg. Looking forward to working with you as we continue to make our airport lovable for decades to come. #ORD21”

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