May 26, 2024

Ever enjoyed the luxury of an almost empty flight in first class? One passenger was surprised to find himself in this setting on a recent trip from the Indian city of Delhi.

Michael Viser traveled on an American Airlines flight on February 10 that carried just over a dozen passengers, including barely a handful in first class, where he was seated. He was heading to Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas via New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Viser, who is the founder and president of Wells for Life, a nonprofit providing safe water to those in need in India, was on a 777-300 aircraft. Upon boarding the plane, a flight attendant said this was a “light flight,” he told Newsweek. A staff member later said there were a total of 13 passengers and 17 crew members on board.

He shared a couple of snapshots from his “empty 777” flight in a post five days ago on Reddit under the username ConcentrateSad1343.

He told Newsweek that a selfie he took shows empty rows all the way back through the economy section of the aircraft.

Near empty planes, like the one described by Viser, where you can secure an entire row of seats for yourself, are few and far between. Air travel has seen continued strong growth in recent years after grinding to a halt at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

In November 2023, global air traffic was reported to be at 99.1 percent of November 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels, according to a January 2024 report by the International Air Transport Association.

‘I See No One’ in Business, Premium Economy and Coach

Viser was originally booked for a business class seat, but was cleared for a system-wide upgrade to first class on February 8 as an executive platinum frequent flyer member with American Airlines.

The nonprofit founder said he sat in first class seat 2A, while seats 2C and 2D were also occupied and there was “no one in row 1 or window seat of row 2.”

He recalled: “I turn around and see no one in business directly behind my cabin. I take a peak towards the main business cabin and down through premium economy and coach and I see no one.”

Viser was originally meant to leave Delhi on a 12:20 a.m. flight on February 8 but his flight was pushed back to 6 p.m. on February 10. This was because of a “medical emergency” onboard the plane for his original flight, which was diverted to Boston shortly after take-off, he was told by a staff member at the airport.

After reviewing what other flights options were available, he said “my only choice was to wait till Saturday [February 10] and take the flight leaving at 6 p.m…”

So he extended his stay at the hotel he was at before boarding the Saturday flight.

Viser said on arriving at the airport for his re-arranged flight, he was “somewhat surprised” at how empty the check-in counter and airport lounge were and thought the same of the boarding gate.

“Normally this area is packed with people as I believe the flight can hold at least 270 people,” he said.

Apart from being “a little bumpy,” Viser said “all went well” on his flight to JFK, noting that everyone stayed in their own cabin.

“I was told the folks in economy were taking up entire rows to sleep, which I would have immediately done as well,” he said.

Airline Staff ‘Pretty Bored This Entire Flight’

During the flight, one flight attendant told him that she was taking pictures of passengers in their seats because she was bored and asked if she could take a picture of him.

“At this point I realize these guys truly have not much to do and are going to be pretty bored this entire flight,” he said. He later snapped some his own pictures of the empty aircraft, which he shared on Reddit.

A caption shared with the Reddit post says: “Flight crew were all in their 20s and first international flight. No complaints about them being inexperienced, just fun to have a young crew with little to do.”

Viser told Newsweek that he’s “racked up a lot of miles” over the past 23 years of traveling to and from India, as well as within the country. He was surprised by his latest journey, “as every time I have flown this flight it was been at least 90 percent full.”

He noted: “My only other experience with an empty flight was a morning BA [British Airways] flight from London Heathrow to Chicago and that had 80 [people].”

‘Wish My Flight Was This Empty’

Users on Reddit were surprised by Viser’s flight experience.

Emotional_Snow_3222 wrote: “How was that flight empty as someone who is always travelling to India flights going to india always max capacity.”

User Icy_Cycle_5805 agreed, saying: “My question exactly! This flight is always packed!”

User jordan20x1 said: “I wish my flight was this empty…”

Jolly-Mine-5432 wrote: “That’s about as empty as my flight…was during covid…”

Do you have a travel-related video or story to share? Let us know via and your story could be featured on Newsweek.


This story was originally published February 17, 2024, 7:00 AM.

source: star-telegram

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