Whoa: Emirates Boeing 777 Flies With One Passenger

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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.

Bottom line

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!

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  1. Jeffrey I Chang

    If I woke up on this flight, I would think that I will be facing off against the Langoliers soon.

  2. FlyEK

    I think Greta Thunberg is going to bark at Emirates soon.

  3. Paolo

    I was 1 of 9 passengers on a 747 , BKK-HKG during SARS. It was a bit surreal. But to be the only passenger on the plane...little wonder the airlines are still losing billions.

  4. TM

    Earlier this year I flew roundtrip to Australia from the US. I thought 35 people on an A350 was strange, but this take's it to another level.

  5. bruh

    He was seated in Seat 18A (He flew Y Class). The news reports claim that he was seated in Economy class, but well, the crew might have just bumped him into Business.

  6. Kevin

    Wow! I once was the only F passenger on a Lufthansa 747. I thought I was special!

  7. Sean M.

    Passengers who hold "golden visas" are exempt from the travel ban from India to the UAE, which is how he was able to fly on this flight while nobody else could.

    It is actually more notable that there was one person on the flight, because most of these have been flying with zero passengers.

  8. Milo

    After the government of Dubai so openly aided the Communist Chinese regime to kidnap a Chinese dissident transiting through Dubai on Emirates, I'm not surprised. India and Communist China are not exactly on friendly terms.

  9. Timo

    In Fall 2019 I was one of 10 passengers on AA flight MAD to DFW due to cancellation prior day and it ended up being a ferry flight. Weird sensation but the that was the shortest 777 take-off roll I ever experienced. It was fast and steep and I loved it! Most of us were in J class.

  10. MMcG

    Surprised this one passenger flight wasn’t from the People’s Democratic Republic of Koalastan.

  11. Nicola

    I’m based in Dubai and two third of my company’s staff are Indians. Passengers from India are currently banned in most countries but not the other way around. So flights can be substantially occupied outbound and come back with very few or no passengers at all as there are very few exceptions to allow Indian citizens in the United Arab Emirates regardless if they are residents.

  12. Sean M.

    @Nicola - there are no restrictions on Indian citizens entering the UAE. The restrictions are on all persons, regardless of citizenship, traveling to the UAE from India without specific exemption.

  13. Miso

    Probably ended up with a middle seat if he was bumped up.

  14. RDP

    I was on a LGA-DFW flight in March next to a deadheading AA FA who told me his CDG-JFK flight the day before had 4 passengers. He also said there were no free upgrades.

  15. Jack

    Once me and my family of 4 flew alone in Qatar A320 Business Class and was quiet special feeling, like on private jet.

  16. KenP

    In 2016 my wife and I flew from SEA to DXB on a 777 and we were the only ones in F! I thought that was strange, especially since we were flying on AS mileage awards which means there was NO paying passengers in the forward cabin. We actually found it a little uncomfortable since the FAs hovered all the way through the end of dinner.

  17. SS

    This passenger paid Rs 18000/-(US$250) for the one way flight from BOM-DXB.He claims his lucky number is 18A so he got himself assigned that seat. This seat is located in the Business Class cabin. He could have paid for the Business class fare as usually the Economy class one way fare is about US$90 and the outbound being always empty nowadays EK sold him a Business Class ticket for US$250 as the lowest Y class...

    This passenger paid Rs 18000/-(US$250) for the one way flight from BOM-DXB.He claims his lucky number is 18A so he got himself assigned that seat. This seat is located in the Business Class cabin. He could have paid for the Business class fare as usually the Economy class one way fare is about US$90 and the outbound being always empty nowadays EK sold him a Business Class ticket for US$250 as the lowest Y class fare on this sector would be around this figure. Also this guy is a diamond merchant.It is very common to find such persons in the Business class cabins of EK flights on the BOM-DXB sector.

    Emirates is amping up on how they carried only 1 pax on a 777-300ER. The fact is as stated by many above nowadays Emirates is operating passenger flights with inbound and fly outbound with no pax due to the restrictions imposed by UAE. Emirates is still flying to 4-5 cities in India in spite of the restrictions obviously they are making some money with inbound pax + cargo both ways.

    It is not as if they would have canceled the flight and let it to stay on ground in BOM if this passenger was not booked. EK is just milking this event for their promotion.

    If I have a golden visa from UAE I can also fly on an empty EK 777 tomorrow out of India for as low as US$90 claim on my Twitter feed that EK chartered the flight for me!

  18. K4

    @SS

    Why are you just repeating the article in your own words?

  19. SpencerAndy

    How hot was the pilot??!!

Featured Comments Load all 21 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jeffrey I Chang

If I woke up on this flight, I would think that I will be facing off against the Langoliers soon.

SS

This passenger paid Rs 18000/-(US$250) for the one way flight from BOM-DXB.He claims his lucky number is 18A so he got himself assigned that seat. This seat is located in the Business Class cabin. He could have paid for the Business class fare as usually the Economy class one way fare is about US$90 and the outbound being always empty nowadays EK sold him a Business Class ticket for US$250 as the lowest Y class fare on this sector would be around this figure. Also this guy is a diamond merchant.It is very common to find such persons in the Business class cabins of EK flights on the BOM-DXB sector. Emirates is amping up on how they carried only 1 pax on a 777-300ER. The fact is as stated by many above nowadays Emirates is operating passenger flights with inbound and fly outbound with no pax due to the restrictions imposed by UAE. Emirates is still flying to 4-5 cities in India in spite of the restrictions obviously they are making some money with inbound pax + cargo both ways. It is not as if they would have canceled the flight and let it to stay on ground in BOM if this passenger was not booked. EK is just milking this event for their promotion. If I have a golden visa from UAE I can also fly on an empty EK 777 tomorrow out of India for as low as US$90 claim on my Twitter feed that EK chartered the flight for me!

K4

@SS Why are you just repeating the article in your own words?

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