We’ve seen a lot of fairly empty long haul flights due to the pandemic, and we’ve even seen stories of some flights with just one passenger, though typically those involve smaller planes. However, this is the first time I ever recall seeing a story of a plane this big with just one passenger.
Emirates flies from Mumbai to Dubai with one passenger
A traveler uploaded a video of himself flying from Mumbai to Dubai on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER, and he was the only passenger. It’s reported that this flight took place on May 19, though I’m not positive about that timeline — I was under the impression Emirates banned outbound passengers from India prior to that.
In the roughly two minute video, the traveler states he doesn’t usually take videos, but that he “felt special” because he was the only passenger on the Emirates flight to Dubai.
In the video you can see the passenger escorted down the jet bridge to the door of the plane (given that he was the only passenger), and once onboard he’s greeted enthusiastically by several crew members, who clap for him.
The captain even comes out and says “usually we do a big PA announcing the flight details, but since it’s the only one here onboard, I’m going to give it to you.” The passenger jokes that the last time he did a charter, it was a 50-seater (if I’m understanding him correctly). The crew then gives him a tour of the three cabin plane, which features a total of 354 seats.
It’s not entirely clear which cabin the passenger had booked, and which cabin the passenger ended up flying in. While I realize there are usually strict rules surrounding complimentary upgrades, I feel like this is one instance where it would have been appropriate to bump him up to a premium cabin, if he wasn’t in one already. 😉
You can watch the video here:
Why would Emirates operate this flight?
Some might wonder why Emirates would bother operating a flight with just one passenger. Well, the logistics of international aviation are rather complicated nowadays:
- While the Mumbai to Dubai flight may have only had one passenger, it’s possible that the Dubai to Mumbai flight was full; even as Emirates has now stopped carrying passengers from India, the airline continues to carry passengers to India (and just operates the return flight without passengers)
- Many airlines are nowadays operating cargo-only flights with passenger aircraft; so just because the cabin is empty doesn’t necessarily mean the airline is losing money
While odds are good that Emirates wasn’t exactly rolling in the dough carrying just one passenger, I suspect the situation wasn’t as bad as it looks.
It sure has been a wild ride for the airline industry in the past 16 months. We’ve seen a lot of flights emptier than usual, though ah Emirates 777 flying with just one passenger has to be some sort of a record.
That must have been a cool experience for the passenger!