Empty airplane interior, bag left in overhead bin, side view
Credit: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

One of the nicest surprises of modern air travel is showing up to your flight to discover you have been upgraded to first class. But not many passengers show up to discover they’ve been upgraded to a private flight.

When Latsamy McAdoo showed up to her Bangkok Airways flight from Bangkok to the island of Koh Samui, she was expecting a typical flight. The Miami-based traveler has family on the island and regularly flies back and forth.

McAdoo didn’t notice anything unusual until she boarded and a flight attendant shut the door behind her — despite the fact that no other passengers had gotten onboard the Airbus A319.

At first, the experience was a dream come true. McAdoo ran down the aisles of the plane, was the sole recipient of the in-flight safety speech, got the best seat in the cabin and was treated to endless food and drink for the duration of her flight. But, as turbulence set in, conditions changed and the dream became a bit of a nightmare. “I began to worry that this was some type of Final Destination flight and it was my time to go,” McAdoo wrote on Instagram.

But the pilot was able to land without further problems and McAdoo had an excellent story to tell when she got off the plane.

And the “private” experience didn’t end once she stepped into the airport. McAdoo’s final surprise perk was that, because her bag was the only one checked onto the plane, it was the only bag to emerge on the carousel.

This is not the first time that a passenger has been treated to an impromptu private flight. Last year, a woman named Karon Grieve was treated to a “private” flight from Glasgow to Crete. The flight was already sparse, with only about 10 people booked, but Grieve was the only one who showed up.

There are several reasons an airline may choose to operate a flight with only one passenger. There may be cargo in the hold that needs to get transported. It could also cause scheduling issues for pilots and cabin crew, or for passengers who are waiting to board return-leg flights.

In addition, to leave a plane parked at an airport can cost an airline a substantial amount of money in fines. It may just be cheaper to operate the practically-empty flight.