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The Emptiest Flight

Fri Oct 15, 1999 9:40 pm

What's the emptiest flight you've ever been on, and what was the circumstance?

Last July 4 weekend I was on a USAirways Express Dash 8 flight from Hartford-Washington Dulles. There were 4 passengers on board. This came on the same day United tripled jet service from BDL-IAD and also a day before Metrojet started service on the same route. Needless to say, the turboprop flights were discontinued.
Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Fri Oct 15, 1999 9:56 pm

MSP-YWG. DC-9, Hardly anybody because our flight getting to MSP was over 2 hours late, so our next plane didn't wait.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Fri Oct 15, 1999 10:22 pm


I was on a Highland Express 747-100 from Prestwick to Birmingham, UK, with about 30 on board!!

Gary Watt
Aberdeen, Scotland
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Fri Oct 15, 1999 11:22 pm

I once took a Delta MD-80 from DFW to Jackson, Mississippi with 4 people on board. There were more crew members than passengers.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Fri Oct 15, 1999 11:31 pm

My father was on a Air Nauru flight to Nauru in a B737-200. He and another man were the only passengers on this flight.

I myself was on a Australian Airlines flight from Darwin to Alice Springs in the early morning. We were 12 to 13 passengers in a 737-400.


RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 12:39 am

The fewest number of people that I ahve been on a flight with was 3, and none were revenue passengers. I was on there with a friend and a pilot who was deadheading home. The flight was an American Eagle Saab 340B LAX-CRQ (CLD - Carlsbad, CA). As a percentage of seats taken, the emptiest I've been on was a DC-10 with 5 passengers, me and my family, on an SAN-LAX flight.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 12:50 am

a MAS A300 long time ago on KUL - BKK route.. only us ( 4 people ) on the Business class section
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 1:10 am

I read a story in a newspaper, a year or two ago. A businessman flying back from JFK to Heathrow with BA was put on a 747-400 which had been delayed earlier. There were about 17 others on board - two pilots and 15 cabin crew!
Boy, did he have a good flight.

My own emptiest flights were with Cathay earlier this year. I flew HKG-Osaka, Osaka - Hong Kong and Hong Kong - London and none of these flights was more than a third full. I also flew on an ANA 777-300 from Tokyo to Osaka and that was also about 20% full.
That's always fun - big, BIG planes with very few passengers!
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 1:46 am

I never had that much luck and fly anywhere with lots of empty seats. But when I used to be a ramp agent at IAD once I had to fill up a DC-9 with 2 boxes with mail going to LaGuardia. Only two pilots were on board, non of FA was on board.

It was USAirways Shuttle, new hourly service to LGA from IAD
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 2:39 am

Years ago I know of a BA plane that left Tokyo 24 hours late - all the passengers took other options except for one. He decided to wait, so when the 747 finally left he was the only passenger on board!
From personal experience though, mine has to be on a Qantas B767-300 from Perth to Hong Kong via Singapore. It was the day before Chinese New Year and no one wanted to fly, there were only about 20 people on board the flight. And you'd think they would offer more personalized service, right? Wrong, it was the worst service I have EVER experienced!!
Eastern L1011
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 4:15 am

Once I flew from ORD to YUL on an American MD-88, and there were about 10 of us. It was the last flight there for the night so it was great for sleeping, you could stretch right out.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 4:23 am

My mother, father, and my mother's two parents were booked to go on one of the first 747s (thus, it was Pan Am flight) to Hawaii. Since the public was a little apprehenisive about flying on such a big aircraft that had just rolled off the line, no one was on that flight.

I think other than the four of them, about 5 or 10 others were on that flight.

Anyhow, my mother says that they got the "run of the ship" (so to speak). She said that the crew was really nice and the Captain came down and shmoozed with everyone. They got to sit up on the upper deck (which at that time was lounge with a bar, piano, and other amenities). I think they even got invited to sit in the cockpit. The crew told them that landing the 747 was the equivilant of "landing a two-story building."

FYI -- I wasn't born yet, so I cannot verify this totally.

- Neil Harrison
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 5:14 am

Hi! I remember when I worked during a summer season in TAP catering an inaugural flight from Lisbon to Manchester with the good old B. 727-100 - CS-TBQ - well I went there to put a meal, and I expected that was a late passenger that was comming, no it was THAT passenger that flew that flight, of course that flight was stopped very soon!
best regards!
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 5:30 am

Hello. I was waiting for my Grandmother and a USAir came in, it was a Beechcraft 1900 from Boston and only 2 people got out. From my own emptiest flight I flew fom LHR - BRE and maybe 4-5 seats were empty that was a lufthansa Avro Regional Jet ( no longer flies that route).
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 5:46 am

I flew a LanChile 767-300 MIA-JFK, there were about 20 people on board. Lan doesnt fly the route anymore, they just go straight SCL-JFK :-( sucks for me because I used to be able to jumpseat that flight, FOR FREE!!
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 5:54 am

I was on a MD-88 from MSY to CVG in 1994 and there were 6 people on the plane.

steve o
Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 5:58 am

About 5 years ago, Delta began MD-88 service to Huntsville, Alabamba from LIT. The very first day of that service, there were only 2 pax on the flight! Thats almost like having your own private jet! That service eventually was dropped.
"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane. " -Jimmy Buffett
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 6:09 am

The empiest flight I've ever been on, was a United Air Lines 767-222 from BOS-LAX. I was seated in the farthest back cabin, and in there was me, my father, and about 10 other poeple, two of those were FA's deadheading to LAX. It was around 700 and it was fortunate as I got to lay out on the centre 3 seats. This was in late August, and because of the large university ties between Boston and Los Angeles (a large amount of people from LA go to college in Boston) the flight home was a full flight. Another was an American Airlines F100 1030 flight from Boston to Chicago. The flight had about 20 people in the entire cabin, including First Class.

« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 6:09 am

The emptiest flight I was ever on was on new years eve a few years ago. I was on a American Airlines 767-300 from ord to london heathrow and there was about 45 people on the plane. In the business class section there was only the two i was traveling with, myself, and four other people.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 10:58 am

This is an easy one. September 28, US Airways Express, flight 4794 from Los Angeles to San Diego. I was the only passenger on the 19-seat Jestream 32.

Probably had something to do with the fact that another flight left 20 minutes before...there were more passengers on that one...
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 1:46 pm

Back in 1991 I flew from CVG to ORD on an AA MD-80; besides me there were two other people up in first class and I had all the peanuts in the world on that flight. Then in 1992 I flew on TWA from FRA to JFK in a B741, there were 22 people on board (I remember asking the flight-attendant); what a flight that was for an airplane enthusiast, running around the entire time without being in anybodys way. It felt like a private jet to me, because in the rear section of the economy clase where I "chose" to sit there was absolutely nobody; but for someone who is 6'4" and flying throughout the night this was a dream: 'Yeah, I will take row 44, oh no maybe row 47 for my sleeping purposes'. Someone said in a previous post, there is nothing like being in a big plane with hardly anybody in it. From what I understood the aircraft was needed back @ JFK the next day; wonder how much airlines are loosing on a flight like that.

Regards, Boeing727
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 2:25 pm

I flew on Continental Airlines on a B737-300 from DCA-EWR there was only 3 passengers on board!!!!
And another time was when I flew with Croatia Airlines on a ATR-42 from Prague-Zagreb there was 6 passengers on this flight!!!!!!

Just One Passenger!

Sat Oct 16, 1999 7:15 pm

I flew on Finnaviation (now part of Finnair) a couple of years ago from Helsinki to Tampere on a Saab 340 and i was the only passenger on board!! It was a lot of fun actually, it was just me and the one flight attendant in the cabin - and i could sit where i wanted!!  
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sat Oct 16, 1999 10:35 pm

YYC-YVR AC DC9...only 9 passengers,dont remember why,was an normally
sheduled flight,and it was during the holiday season

The Winner

Sun Oct 17, 1999 1:43 am

The winner!

On a commercial flight, I once flew a Varig MD-11 from Sao Paulo to Rio with about 7 people on board!!! That's right. But wait, it wasn't a scheduled flight but a transit one. The original flight was coming from LAX-GRU on a full 743, and almost all the passengers stayed in Sao Paulo. There were only around 7 of us continuing on the leg to Rio, so they took the opportunity to transport passengers to Rio on the MD-11, which was supposed to be transported to Rio anyway.
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RE: The Winner

Mon Oct 18, 1999 4:53 am

I've been on a Continental DC-9 EWR-BTV with about 4 people on board. I've also been on a few Tarom flights with less than 10 people on board.

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RE: The Winner

Mon Oct 18, 1999 6:49 am

Oh how could I 1992 i flew MSY-DFW-MSY on AA DC10's. To DFW the flight had around 200...not too bad. Coming back, a total of 30 passengers! The f/a let me sit in first class, cause there was only 1 other pass. in first!

Steve O
Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!
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RE: The Winner

Mon Oct 18, 1999 8:35 am

On Oct. 2...Boston Logan to BWI...I was the only one on a Boeing 733. Had First Class all to myself (with the crew of course).
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RE: Emptiest Flight

Mon Oct 18, 1999 9:48 am

QRO-MTY. 2 passengers in an ATR-42.
"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Mon Oct 18, 1999 10:12 am

Mine was a Sabena Caravelle from BRU-AMS on 2/9/69. It was snowing very hard, and the plane had trouble taxiing in at AMS. The captain had to gun the engines real hard to get us through the snow to the gate. There were only three passengers on board. Instead of the flight attendants doing the safety briefing over the P.A. system, they went to each passenger and gave them an individual safety demonstration at their seats.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Mon Oct 18, 1999 11:40 am

My mother was on an American Eagle ATR 42 from San Juan, PR (SJU) to St. Thomas, VI (STT) and she was the only passanger onboard. This was due to a taxi strike in San Juan at the time so no one could get in or out of the airport.

As for me the least people on a flight was on an American 727 from SJU to Dullus Intl. (Washington, DC). At the most there were only 13 pax on the flight.
I reject your reality and subsitute my own
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:36 am

I was recently on a flight from st louis to Birmingham, Alabama on twa-express, and there were 2 people on a J-41. The reason for so few people was a ATR-72 left 5 mins before our flight and our flight was so late that everyone scheduled the one I was on went onto the ATR. Unfortunatly there is no beverage service to speak on twe's J-41's, so it wasnt like the two of us were pampered.


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How ´bout This One....

Tue Oct 19, 1999 6:05 pm

Back in 1986,just before X-mas I was on my way to Sweden from the US,flew on company tickets with the original PanAm from JFK to LHR,switched at LHR for a short leg to FRA(PanAm´s European hub those days)
Anyways,to get to STO/ARN I needed to pass through FRA,the flight from LHR took place with with a 747 with only 11 passengers!!!!!(and a full cabincrew),to even get me more stunned,the scheduled flight from FRA-ARN(w.a737),only presented 9 passengers!!!!.
Talk about free seating:-)
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Tue Oct 19, 1999 8:56 pm

About eight years ago, I took an Americean Airlines 757 from Boston to Seattle, leaving Logan at 6:00 A.M. on the 4th of July. There were 3 passengers and 7 crew members. We all sat in first class and ate ourlselves silly. At take off, we climbed out faster and steeper than I had ever experienced. The flight crew told us afterwards that they had never had a plane that light for take off, and decided to see what it could do. It was very impressive.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Tue Oct 19, 1999 10:58 pm

August of '97 on Southwest, HOU-STL, 737-200, 16 pax. This was the last flight to STL on a Sunday night. I'd been on the same flight twice before and it was always full. It was the only time I've seen "assigned seating" on WN, as they made everyone sit forward of the exit row. It was also the only time I've ever gotten full on a WN flight, as the traditional WN peanuts were served "all you can eat"-style.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Wed Oct 20, 1999 12:08 am

Unforgettable... I flew a Pan Am 747-200 from GRU to MIA in July, 1988 with 7 people boarded in the economy class. No one has ever spent so much money on me and I was just a boy!  
The fastest way to become a millionaire in the airline business is to start as a billionaire.
SEA nw DC10
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Fri Oct 22, 1999 9:28 am

I was on an Alaska MD-80, with no more than 15 passengers, flying from SJC to OAK. When I worked for SWA, I used to fly on the most random flights and times, once on a flight from ABQ to DAL, there were about 9 people on the flight, B737.
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 3:49 am

RE: The Emptiest Flight

Fri Oct 22, 1999 9:39 am

A United Airlines B737-500 with four passengers aboard: My family and me (3 people), and a really old lady. We were traveling between SFO and SBA (Santa Barbara, Ca).


RE: The Emptiest Flight

Fri Oct 22, 1999 1:39 pm

Short hop in Europe on a major major airline. ATR 42 (I think it was the 42). I was the only passenger and the pilot said "Come on up and sit with us." So I took the jumpseat, strapped in, wired up and had the best flight dodging clouds and enjoying the view going forward for once. Much nicer in the cockpit, though a little cramped. Landing was much more interesting as we slipped and slid on approach. Best experience I've ever had in an aircraft.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sun Oct 24, 1999 3:22 am

Once I flew from MCO to SYR on a Delta Express B737 and there were about 11 people including myself


RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sun Oct 24, 1999 4:12 am

Thanksgiving day 1977. National Airlines Boeing 727-235 from San Diego to Los Angeles. 3 pax including myself. I was a non-rev.
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RE: The Emptiest Flight

Sun Oct 24, 1999 8:09 am

I was on an EMB-120 Flight on ASA from MEI-LFT and i was the ONLY one on it.. there were just no people on that flight.. no real reason for it being empty


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