Travelling to one’s hometown during the chaotic Chinese New Year is usually a nightmare. But not for ‘lucky’ Zhang.
Zhang, a woman employee of a motor company found that she was the only person on a Boeing 737 commercial flight to southern China’s Guangzhou on Monday after her other co-passengers failed to turn up or took earlier flights due to a huge blizzard.
The blizzard which caused massive train chaos that left 100,000 passengers stranded also led to delays to several flights in central Wuhan, including Zhang’s scheduled flight CZ2833 to Guangzhou by 10 hours.
But when Zhang showed up, China Southern Airlines decided to fly with just one passenger. She paid about 1,200 yuan (USD 181) for her golden ticket.
She documented her “rockstar” experience during the two-hour flight in a post on a Chinese micro-blogging platform.
“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.
During the flight, she also received personalised service and attention from the flight attendants. The pilot also met her.
Her posts on board the plane, showing rows of empty seats, drew hundreds of likes, shares and comments from Chinese netizens.
“What a great way to fly, you are indeed very lucky to experience such hospitality especially at such a chaotic travelling period,” one commented.
“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 netizen.
This year, the Chinese New Year (Year of the Monkey) falls on February 8. China witnesses hundreds of millions of people travelling across the country to return home for family reunions.
During this period, described as the world’s largest annual human migration, many Chinese return to their hometowns to be with their family. Tradition demands that all family members must gather before midnight on the eve of the Lunar New Year.