Passengers get whole plane to themselves for just one air ticket

Passengers get whole plane to themselves for just one air ticket
PHOTO: YouTube screen grab, Sina Weibo

Imagine chartering a plane for just 1,200 yuan (S$261), complete with pilots, flight attendants, the whole works.

That was what one lucky traveller in China experienced while flying home from the central city of Wuhan to Guangzhou in the south of China for the Chinese New Year holiday, reports said.

A 10-hour flight delay meant all other passengers had swopped to an earlier flight, leaving the passenger, identified by only her surname Zhang, as the sole passenger on board the two-hour China Southern Airlines Flight 2833 on Monday (Feb 1).

Ms Zhang, reported South China Morning Post, posted photos showing only herself and flight attendants on the plane on Weibo, with the captions: "I'm the only one on the plane! Yes! Just myself as the passenger! And the whole crew! I feel filthy rich!"

According to Beijing Youth Daily, it is not rare for travellers to find themselves the sole passenger on some China Southern Airlines flights during the most important holiday in China.

It is a privilege that would make the eyes of less lucky travellers water, especially the 100,000 people stranded at Guangzhou station this week by a blizzard.

Ms Zhang's post drew hundreds of likes, shares and comments from Chinese netizens on Weibo, BBC reported on Wednesday (Feb 3).

Some have dubbed her the world's "luckiest passenger", the report said.

"What a great way to fly, you are indeed very lucky to experience such hospitality especially at such a chaotic travelling period," commented one Weibo user, referring to the annual human crush in China when millions are anxious to return home in time for the Chinese New Year eve reunion on Feb 7.

"Sister, you are clearly the world's luckiest passenger - cherish it," said another.

But others felt the flight was too extravagant. "Given the Chinese New Year timing when thousands of people are getting crushed while just trying to go home, isn't this wasteful?" remarked one Chinese netizen according to BBC.

Another user felt that the airline "should have just waited" and flown more passengers back. "Wasting fuel too," he added.

Ms Zhang's case isn't the only odd occurrence.

On Jan 27 this year, Daily Mail reported that 28-year-old Alex Simon had an entire plane to himself on a domestic flight from Manila to Boracay.

The travel blogger, who lives in Ischgl, Austria, was shocked to find out that no one had boarded the Philippines Airlines flight. He was with four others - two flight attendants and two pilots - on the plane. While the price of his air ticket is not known, The Independent reported that Mr Simon paid the price of one ticket for his flight.

Mr Simon said that when he arrived at the airport, he heard his name on the speaker to go to the information counter. An airline representative explained to him that he didn't need to wait two more hours for his connecting flight and there would be no other passengers except him on the plane.

He said: "I was little bit surprised and I couldn't believe it. I thought I was dreaming. Later while boarding I just realised that it's gonna be a special flight because this time I didn't even need to line up."

Mr Simon's thrilling adventure was further enhanced when he had the chance to visit the cockpit of the plane. He posted a selfie of himself with the pilots and even had the chance to chat with the pilots, reported Daily Mail.

According to Mr Simon, a Philippine Airlines staff member told him flights on the same route are usually packed.

To capture this memorable moment, Mr Simon made a three-and-a-half minute video of his adventure and posted it on YouTube last February but it only caught traction among Internet users recently.

In one segment, he tells the camera: "This is my own plane. Nobody's here. I booked the whole plane just for me and the crew. Maybe I'll sit next to the pilot."

seokhwai@sph.com.sg

stephluo@sph.com.sg

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