This might sound slightly difficult to believe but it’s true. A man paid Rs 18,000 for a flight ticket and travelled as the only passenger onboard an Emirates flight from Mumbai to Dubai on May 19. Bhavesh Javeri, 40, thus enjoyed an exclusive flight on a 360-seater Boeing 777 aircraft.
“I stepped into the aircraft and the airhostesses all clapped to welcome me aboard,” Bhavesh Javeri told The Times Of India from his Dubai office.
Bhavesh Javeri, who has boarded over 240 flights between Mumbai and Dubai so far, added, “I have flown so much, but this is the best flight ever.”
On the flight, meanwhile, Bhavesh Javeri had a great time conversing with the crew as well as the commander, who also offered to give him a tour of the entire plane. Since 18 is his lucky number, Bhavesh Javeri got the specific seat that he had asked for, much to his delight.
“The novelty kept on coming through the flight in the form of the familiar inflight public address, delivered with a personal touch. ‘Mr Javeri, please fasten your seat belt. Mr Javeri, we are preparing to land.’ After we landed, I walked out leisurely and picked up my bag, the only one lying next to a conveyor belt,” Bhavesh Javeri, who has been a resident of Dubai since the past 20 years
As per the travel restrictions imposed by the United Arab Emirates in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, only UAE nationals, holders of UAE Golden visa and members of diplomatic mission can fly from India to UAE.
An operator from the Indian aircraft charter industry was quoted as saying by TOI that, “It would cost about Rs 70 lakh to charter a Boeing 777 from an airline to do the Mumbai-Dubai route. But the cost of charter would double if the aircraft was from a company that had to fly it back ferry, without passengers, to its base.”
Bhavesh Javeri has a Golden visa and had purchased the Rs 18,000 economy class ticket after making a call to the airline one week prior to the scheduled date of his departure. “I normally book a business class ticket, but I thought, why not book an economy seat, the flight would have only a few passengers.”
After he reached the airport, Bhavesh Javeri was denied entry into the terminal building by the CISF personnel as his ticket didn’t have a date. Immediately, Bhavesh dialed Emirates and was told that the staff was waiting for him as he was the only passenger on board flight EK501.
“I was elated. I had flown a charter flight from Dubai to Mumbai last June with nine passengers on a 14-seater aircraft. But it was nowhere close to this money-can’t-buy experience,” he said.
An official with an Indian carrier made an attempt to explain why the airline had the Boeing 777 burn about 17 tonnes of fuel worth Rs 8 lakh to fly a lone economy-class passenger. “It’s probably a case of good passenger load on one direction, say, when they flew from Dubai to Mumbai, and then poor on the return leg. The airline would have operated the return leg anyway, even with zero paying passengers on board.”