BBC
Beijing
Plenty of leg room, personalised service and no crying babies or unruly fellow passengers.
That was what one lucky traveller in China experienced while flying home to Guangzhou for the New Year holiday. Delays meant all other passengers had swapped to an earlier flight, leaving Ms Zhang to enjoy the “rockstar” trip.
Flying rather than going by train also meant she avoided huge delays which saw around 100,000 people stranded at Guangzhou station this week. The blizzard which caused the train chaos also caused delays to several flights in central Wuhan, including Ms Zhang’s scheduled flight CZ2833 to Guangzhou.
Most of the passengers took up the offer of an earlier flight, but Ms Zhang chose not to, and the flight went ahead with her as the sole passenger . She documented her “happy” experience in a post on the popular chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo.
“I felt so happy, it was a rare life experience for me and it was new. I felt like a rockstar,” she told the BBC, adding that her family members were all mainly flying home for the holidays. She also received personalised service and attention from the flight attendants and pilot.
Her post drew hundreds of likes, shares and comments from chinese netizens on Weibo. “What a great way to fly, you are indeed very lucky to experience such hospitality especially at such a chaotic travelling period,” commented one Weibo user referring to the annual human “migration” which sees hundreds of millions of people travelling across the country to return home in time for the chinese New Year. “Sister, you are clearly the world’s luckiest passenger - cherish it,” said another.
But others felt that it was “too extravagant” for an airline to be flying out chartered flights for only one passenger . “Given the chinese New Year timing when thousands of people are getting crushed while just trying to go home, isn’t this wasteful?” remarked one chinese netizen. Another user felt that the airline “should have just waited” and flown more passengers back. “Wasting fuel too,” he added. As for the cost of the golden ticket? “Because it was paid for by my company, I do not know its exact price,” she said.