Love Is in the Air at American Airlines

Married couple also flies the friendly skies together as pilots

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    A North Texas couple knows what it's like to work in close quarters with a spouse.

    Lauren and Mike Canatella have flown the friendly skies together for 10 years. They are part of a unique group -- married pilots who work for American Airlines.

    In Sickness, In Health and In the Workplace

    [DFW] In Sickness, In Health and In the Workplace
    Two American Airlines pilots know what it's like to work in close quarters with a spouse. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010)

    The Canatellas met in 1976 at Louisiana Tech University.

    "He sat next to me, or behind me in our first aviation class in college, so we became friends, and we stayed friends," Lauren Canatella said.

    She was even her husband's instructor for a while. Now, they're colleagues -- and best friends.

    "When we come home, she knows to probably leave me alone for just a little while," Mike Canatella said.

    Only a handful of the airline's 8,000 pilots are married to each other. Before 1998, pilots who were married to each other could not fly together.

    Mike Canatella has been working for American since 1986.

    "It was 1986, and I was in the (National) Guard unit down in New Orleans," he said. "A lot of the guys were American pilots, and they talked me into coming over."

    Lauren Canatella joined American Airlines in 1998. She said she hung back for a little while because they had three children.

    "I was excited and anxious about it," she said. "It felt a little awkward at first, I think, and then we kind of settled into, well, just doing our job here."

    Their children are now grown, and their youngest son is also making aviation a family affair.

    "Michael Jr. is down at TSDC in Waco, and he's got his private and is working on his commercial and instrument and doing real well," Mike Canatella said.

    A survey from the American Management Association found that 30 percent of people admit to dating a co-worker. Forty percent of such relationships lead to marriage, according to the survey.