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Flying solo: Scottish author only passenger on plane, gets VIP treatment by crew

The 57-year-old author paid a modest £46 for the Greek island bound flight that normally seats 189 passengers.

world Updated: Oct 27, 2017 07:46 IST
HT Correspondent
An aircraft carrying only one or two passengers is extremely rare, particularly for budget short-haul flights.
An aircraft carrying only one or two passengers is extremely rare, particularly for budget short-haul flights.(Karen Grieve Twitter)

A Scotland resident, heading to Crete to write a crime novel, had a commercial flight all to herself after the only two other passengers failed to show up.

When Karon Grieve boarded her Jet2 flight from Glasgow, she was greeted with a rather ‘surreal’ sight. She was the sole passenger on-board the 4.5 hour long flight.

The 57-year-old author paid a modest £46 for the Greek island bound flight that normally seats 189 passengers. The other two passengers booked on the flight failed to show up, leaving the Scotland resident to enjoy some VIP customer service.

“I turned up at the check-in desk and was joking with the staff, saying ‘how many people are on this flight?’ The guy was laughing at me and he said ‘oh come on, guess’,” Grieve told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

Grieve naturally chose the window seat in the first row of the aircraft, which gave her enough leg space. She was also served a free meal, reports The Telegraph.

Since Grieve was the only passenger, all the flight crew knew her name. The airline told BBC that it’s not unusual for the final flight of the season to have fewer bookings than usual.

“The captain was fantastic. She came and sat beside me while the first officer did all the flight checks and we were chatting away about the flight,” Grieve told BBC. “Every time she made an announcement she said, ‘Hi there Karon, you’ll see Croatia on your left-hand side’, and then we flew through this amazing lightning storm and she suddenly came on and said, ‘Hi Karon and the girls, quickly run to the other side of the plane and look at this, it’s amazing.’”

Grieve was handed her luggage as soon as the flight touched down. “I didn’t even have to wait at the dreaded baggage carousel,” she told the Telegraph.

Grieve plans to spend the next month in Crete, writing her novel, before returning to Scotland. Although the airline doesn’t expect her flight home to be as empty, the spokesperson said they were happy to serve her, reports ajc.com.

An aircraft carrying only one or two passengers is extremely rare, particularly for budget short-haul flights, aviation expert John Strickland tells Telegraph Travel: “They usually fly at between 95 and 100% capacity.”

Last year, a Chinese woman, homebound for the holidays, had the entire jet to herself after gruelling delays winnowed down other passengers. She posted photos showing row after row of empty seats on the China Southern plane as it flew from Wuhan.

Zhang poses on an empty flight from Wuhan to Guangzhou, after the China Southern flight was delayed for 10 hours. (AFP Photo)

The flight was delayed for 10 hours, and other passengers departed on earlier flights, leaving Zhang to enjoy personalised attention from the plane’s crew.