Watch: Emirates operates a Boeing 777 flight with just one passenger

Emirates, the super-connector airline, based in Dubai, recently found itself in a situation where they flew just one passenger on a Boeing 777 that would have usually operated for about 350+ passengers, found themselves in a situation where they had just one passenger. This is certainly not new, and other people have found themselves to be alone on a whole plane as well, but I don’t recall a flight being operated with one person in the cabin for a large jet such as the Boeing 777.

The UAE has restricted travel from India on their soil in April 2021. However, flights between UAE and India and v.v. are operating.  On a flight from UAE to India, travel is permitted, and perhaps there is a significant cargo demand.

On the way from India to UAE, however, traffic is thin due to new restrictions. These rules were recently made even stricter. However, apart from UAE diplomats and citizens, added Golden Visa holders to travel on flights from India to the Emirates.

On a recent flight from Mumbai to Dubai, on May 19, 2021, a diamond trader, Mr Bhavesh Jhaveri, found himself the lone passenger on EK501, operated by Emirates. You can see in the video how he was escorted to the plane, and he gets a personalised welcome on boarding the plane. Not just that, the pilot also (jokingly) makes the pre-flight announcement for the passenger 1-1 rather than over the PA, and the passenger tells the crew about how he had chartered a jet during the previous ‘lockdown’ as well.

It’s a crazy day at the office for aviation personnel, who certainly are dealing with the fine line between optimising resources, and on some days, operating a flight with a near-empty plane. The customer, who was flying Economy class on this flight, spent his entire time on the plane catching a nap. Now that is what you call, making the best of what you have.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. It’s unbelievably wonderful, but it happened in real. Ticket cost 18K is nothing, thank God Emirates is not a private airline. UAE sheikhs do surely compensate for such flights as the person who qualifies for such a flt is never less than a sheikh.

  2. I recall a similar incident many years ago when a 747 (possibly United?) flew from Hawaii to San Francisco with one passenger. They lost his luggage.

    • BA had one passenger on a flight from JFK to LHR on a 747. There was a multi-hour flight delay and all passengers could be accommodated on earlier flights. One traveler decided to stay on his original flight hoping for an empty plane; sure enough he was the only passenger, and was upgraded to first. I read about it in the WSJ many years ago

  3. I don’t understand how Emirates operated with just one pax. Here are many waiting to return to their work places asap. I request all flights to please operate soon. It’s a humble request

  4. I wonder how they came with just one person for 18K, since thousands are waiting for their turn to come back.

    • @Asif, only UAE diplomats, nationals and Golden Visa holders are allowed to travel from India to the UAE right now. So the thousands don’t qualify right now to fly back to the UAE unfortunately.

  5. Todays TOI and TV news reported, that he was travelling in economy with tkt price of 18K. I am sure emirates must have pampered him by upgrading.

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