Why Do Planes Fly with Empty Seats? The Inside Scoop!

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In a recent wild ride, a flight turned into a personal party with just two passengers rocking it out in the economy class. But here’s the head-scratcher: Why do planes keep soaring when the seats are practically deserted?

You’d think the moolah comes from full flights, right? Well, a cool incident featuring a mom, Kimmy, and her kiddo, Zoe, unfolded on an Emirates Airlines flight from Seychelles International Airport to Dubai (with a layover, of course).

Picture this: Only two passengers in the entire economy class. What did they do? Turn the cabin into a celebration zone! Zoe even decided to play in-flight snow angel on the floor. Imagine that – economy class feeling like a private jet!

Now, let’s spill the tea on why the plane kept going with more empty spaces than a Monday morning meeting.

NZ Airports spills the beans: Flights with just a duo in the passenger gang are rarer than a unicorn on roller skates for domestic flights. But, there’s a catch. Flights have to be punctual and stick to the schedule, especially when airports are juggling gates and services for the planes.

Riden, the NZ Airports spokesperson, spills the tea: “Airlines sometimes fly with a handful of passengers to keep those precious slots—basically, the VIP pass for arrival and gate times at busy airports.”

Here’s the trick – those sought-after slots get a renewal ticket only if the airline uses them wisely, hitting at least 80 percent of the scheduled time, Riden spills.

During the pandemic, airlines had to play this game of maintaining slots, leading to ghost flights – yup, flights with more crew than passengers.

Riden spills more tea: “During Covid, airlines in Europe and the US ran these ghost flights to hold on to their slots until the pandemic took a back seat, and passengers started filling seats again.”

Air Traffic Control, the cool cats managing the skies, also prefers a regular and well-planned arrival and departure schedule.

On the flip side, Walker, the General Manager of Domestic Airline Operations in New Zealand, spills the final cup of tea: Their airline still rocks non-full services. Why? It’s all about putting the aircraft and crew in the right spot at the right time – a.k.a., repositioning flights.

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