A mother and daughter had an unexpected surprise when they boarded their Emirates flight from the Seychelles to Dubai on Christmas Day to discover that they were the only passengers in the massive economy-class cabin.
If the lack of crowds at the boarding gate wasn’t a big enough clue, Zoe Doyle and her mother, Kimmy Chedel, truly grasped how empty their flight home to Switzerland would be when they stepped onboard the aircraft and walked past row upon row of empty seats.
Doyle videoed her experience on the four-hour flight to Dubai in a now-viral TikTok, which has now been viewed more than a million times since she posted it on the popular social media platform on December 25.
The TikTok shows her Doyle getting to try on the iconic Emirates flight attendant hat, while Zoe takes the opportunity to dance along the empty aisle and even make ‘snow angles’ on the floor by an emergency exit (flight attendants everywhere are shuddering at this point).
Doyle told Stuff that it had been a ‘complete surprise’ to find that the massive 304 seater Economy Cabin was reserved just for them.
“We had no idea we were the only ones. There were four others, I think, that were in first class but they were totally separate from us, so we were basically the only ones,” Doyle explained.
“Because it was monsoon season in the Seychelles, as well as being Christmas Day, it just meant no one was flying I guess.”
With fare-paying passengers sitting in First Class, the pair weren’t allowed to enter Emirates’ most exclusive cabin, but flight attendants gave the pair a tour of the rest of the plane and took part in the fun with the excited mother and daughter duo.
“It was so much fun. We were chatting with the flight attendants and filming funny videos with them,” Doyle commented.
“They even got a Polaroid camera out and dressed my Mum up in the cabin crew uniform. It was great”.
In 2021, Saurabh Sinha discovered he was the only passenger onboard an Emirates 777-300 with a capacity for 360 passengers on a flight from Mumbai to Dubai, although in that case, there was a very good reason for a lack of passengers.
The normally popular route, which rarely departs with many spare seats, was restricted due to strict pandemic-era travel restrictions that had been imposed in response to a new variant of COVID-19.
At the time, most travellers from India were banned from entering Dubai, but Emirates continued to operate flights so that UAE nationals, holders of a Golden Visa and members of diplomatic missions could still get back home.
Even as the only passenger on the plane, Saurabh was still forced to sit in his assigned Economy Class for the duration of the flight.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.