Talk about getting champagne on a beer budget.
A Scottish woman paid just £46, or roughly $61, for a flight from Glasgow to Heraklion, Crete, on Sunday — and ended up being the only passenger on the 189-seat plane.
Karon Grieve, a 57-year-old mother from Ayrshire, Scotland, who was on a trip to Crete to write a novel, said she knew that the flight on Jet2 — a UK budget-friendly airline — wouldn’t be packed. But she had no idea just how light the trip would be.
“I knew it was the last flight of the season, so I knew there would not be too many people,” she told the Globe. “When I went to the check-in counter and asked how many people were on the flight, they laughed and said, ‘Come on, guess.’”
Grieve said she guessed 10, and was informed that just three people were on the flight. But as she waited at the gate, the other two passengers never showed.
“They said, ‘This is your own private jet,’” Grieve said.
And thus began the 4-hour and 20-minute journey that Grieve described as the best plane ride of her life.
Grieve said that upon boarding, she was warmly greeted by the flight attendants and the pilot, and that they called her by name during the flight.
“The pilot introduced herself right away, chatted with me, and said the minute the seat-belt sign was turned off, to feel free to run and up and the plane if I wanted to.”
So she did, Grieve said.
“It was amazing,” she said.
She was given the best seat on the plane — the one with the most leg room — and was also lavished with a free meal and free drinks.
The pilot also went out of her way to make announcements addressed just to Grieve as the plane flew over landmarks and through lightning storms.
“We flew through an electric storm, and she said, ‘Quick, run to the other side of the plane,’” Grieve recalled. “It lit up with lightning. It was so amazing to see.”
Her favorite thing about the flight?
“Just feeling like a VIP for the first time in my life,” Grieve gushed. “Just being made to feel special was fantastic.”
Grieve said the plane had to make the trip no matter what, which was why it wasn’t canceled or postponed.
“They were bringing back a full flight of people from here [Crete] — so the flight was going over with just me, but coming back with 189 people,” she said. “It was the last flight of the season. No one’s going over on holiday, they’re just coming back. Only mad people like me were coming over,” she joked.
Jet2 wrote in a statement to the Globe that it’s not unusual for the final outbound flight of the season to have fewer bookings that usual, and noted that the return flight to Glasgow “was completely full of customers returning from a lovely holiday.”
“We’re delighted that Karon got to experience our VIP customer service in style onboard our award-winning airline,” a company spokesman said. “We hope Karon has a fantastic time in Crete and that we got her trip off to a great start.”
But the final icing on the cake for Grieve? Several national outlets in the UK picked up on her story, and soon her picture was splashed on newspapers and online articles — and, apparently, on Twitter, she said.
“The best thing out of all this, because this story has trended worldwide, I have impressed my teenage daughter,” she laughed. “She phoned me and said, ‘Oh my God, Mom, you’re trending on Twitter!’”