They were grounded by a delayed flight but that was just what they needed to meet and fall in love.
Now, 18 months later, Canadian Kristen and Brit Darren have bought a house together and, in September, are to wed.
Their story began in June 2014 at Toronto airport in Canada. Marketing executive Kristen, 26, was heading to Kenya, via Heathrow, to volunteer at an orphanage. She had just been through a painful break-up and had sworn off men.
But then she met engineering supervisor Darren, 33, who was waiting for the same delayed British Airways flight.
She said: “Everyone else had been given meal vouchers and had gone to get food.”They asked Kristen to sit with them and trio spent the next few hours laughing and drinking. When they finally boarded, there was an empty seat next to Darren.
“We decided I was meant to be sitting there. It was a red eye flight, everyone was sleeping but Darren and I just kept talking.
“We shared our life stories and exchanged details but I thought I’d never see him again.”Kristen was in Kenya for nearly a month and messaged Darren every day. When she flew back home to Toronto fate once again had a hand as her plane was delayed in Heathrow.
She decided she could stay in London for the weekend and she met Darren for dinner and drinks.
The next day he invited her to his sister’s birthday. But parting was hard.
“Seeing her disappear through the airport was the worst. I didn’t know when I’d see her again. That’s when I knew I loved her .”
And when Kristen got her payment for the 2014 wait she returned to Darren and successfully applied for a visa.
“It was all very fast but very natural. Everything just seemed right. I got a job and we bought a house together last October. Things have been fantastic ever since.”In August last year, the day before the couple’s one-year anniversary, Darren popped the question with a surprise picnic.
“Darren said it had been a crazy year and why not make it a little bit crazier,” laughed Kristen.
“Everyone tells me they have never seen me so happy, so I guess we’ve a lot to thank British Airways for. We’re marrying here in September.
"It has been a whirlwind and it’s only going to get more exciting from here on out.”The couple live in Wickford, Essex, and Darren said:
“Proposing to Kristen was one of the easiest decisions of my entire life. "And I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life with the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.