Man Was Only Passenger On 7 Hour Flight. All The Announcements Addressed Him By Name.

Alexander Svanevik, the founder of blockchain analytics company Nansen, flew from Abu Dhabi to Singapore on an Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9. And in a world mostly closed to long haul travel, especially to Asia, he found himself the only customer on board the widebody aircraft configured for 336 passengers.

Svanevik shared video of the empty business class cabin – and you can hear announcements being made directly to him, “Mr. Alexander.”

I’ve flown alone in first class many times, for instance flying Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Paris, Thai Airways from Bangkok to Tokyo, and ANA from Chicago to Tokyo. But I’ve never had an entire widebody aircraft to myself – the closest I came to that was January 1, 2000 (“Y2K”) on a United Los Angeles – Washington Dulles flight, with a near-empty Boeing 777.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I bet airlines are seriously taking a hard look at the concept of the old 747 and 737 Combi aircraft that used to fly years ago (KLM was prolific in it) so as to talk with Boeing about possibly bringing back the concept. Cargo is saving the day and those old clunky 747’s that KLM used would be genius today if they were still around. I think Alaska still has a few of the 737 versions for some of the milk runs. But not sure.

  2. Flew on American Eagle once from Orlando to Miami- was the only passenger.
    Rather funny.
    They called my name at the gate as they were in a hurry “to get it over with”. No other oddities except that I was in 1A and FA was opposite me for an uncomfortable 45 mins.

  3. RE: “And in a world mostly closed to long haul travel, especially to Asia …”

    FYI, Abu Dhabi is located in Asia (as a continent)!

    Thank you for sharing the story about the lucky man nevertheless!

  4. @Ed – no, it’s not a publicity stunt.

    In this case the plane was flying Abu Dhabi to Singapore and back to Abu Dhabi. If the flight back was entirely full and/or was carrying profitable cargo (or if it was carrying profitable cargo AUH > SIN) then it’s in Etihad’s best interest to fly the flight even if it’s just one passenger on the entire plane.

    This is how airline economics works.

  5. I was the only passenger on a flight twice!

    On one of those flights, I had the FA take a photo of me but I had not yet switched to digital. The photo is blurry. Ugh.

  6. Years ago when I was a young man and an officer in the Coast Guard I was the only passenger on a flight from San Francisco to St. Louis. Since I was flying military standby, I was in uniform. The stewardesses (yes, they were called that then) kept asking me what airline I flew for. Once that was straightened out, I sadly discovered that the plane went on to Chicago, where the stewardesses were stationed. Sigh. I was like a kid in a candy shop without a nickle.

  7. @1987
    okay I’ll ask if no one else will;

    Why didn’t you asked for a seat change??..Seriously

  8. I was the lone pax on a puddle-jumper flight, Key West to Miami. After 12 of us had boarded the plane an announcement was made that the fuel gauge was broken, so it appeared we were flying on ‘E’, but the pilots had personally seen the tanks refueled, so they were going to continue with the flight. We, the pax, had the option to either wait for the next flight first thing in the morning, or continue to head to Miami on the aircraft flying ‘E’. I was the only pax who chose to stay onboard the aircraft, and consequently I was upgraded to the front row, haha.

  9. I was the only px in a business class 787 on an extra JAL flight Chinese New Year ‘19 flying TPE-NRT; Probably not that special but FA’s we’re very cool with my request to take a video of the cabin.

  10. @darkstar you funny… the FA and I only had the tension (?) while she was in the jumpseat thing… as soon as we lifted up she went into the galley and was gone from my line of vision.

  11. Ed

    An airline is not allowed to cancel a flight due to low passenger count – no matter how low! This was no stunt.

  12. I can hear all the private pilot’s out there laughing having been the only one on a lot of flights. I know some guys who flew fairy flights from New York to London where the only ones on board the aircraft.

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