Traveler enjoys entire plane to himself, ‘private party’ after 18-hour flight delay

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Forget first class.

A North Carolina man received the flight upgrade of a lifetime when he got an entire plane to himself after his original flight was delayed 18 hours on Sunday.

Phil Stringer was the only passenger to show up at the gate when his long-delayed 6:20 a.m. flight from Oklahoma City to Charlotte, North Carolina finally began boarding shortly after midnight.

The lone traveler told Insider he felt awful for making the American Airlines crew show up just for him — but the flight attendants got a laugh out of the situation and soon turned it into a “private party” in the sky that Stringer captured and posted to TikTok.

“When you buy every single ticket on the plane so you don’t have to deal with people,” Stringer wrote on TikTok. “(Just kidding, it was delayed 18 hours and everyone else gave up).”


Phil Stringer waited in the airport for 18 hours before he was able to board after multiple delays.
Phil Stringer waited in the airport for 18 hours before he was able to board after multiple delays.
TikTok /Phil.Stringer

The video — which has more than 15.4 million views — shows the flight attendants cracking up and cheering for one another as they ran through the required announcements and demonstrations for the audience of one.

They reportedly ended their loud-speaker messages with “And yeah, Phil, this message is just for you,” Stringer told Insider.

The traveler told the outlet that he initially thought he was late to board when he didn’t see anyone else lining up at his gate.

“I went to the gate and nobody was there. I was like, ‘Did you guys already board everyone?’” he said.

The flight attendant “was like, ‘No, honey, you’re the only passenger’,” he said.

He said he tried to change his flight multiple times with no luck and spent 18 hours waiting in the airport because he needed to get home to return to his job as the COO of a real estate brokerage.

“I apologized like 400 times,” Stringer said for being the sole reason the staff was called in so late.


He got a free pass into first class and a private party with the crew for having the flight to himself.
Stringer got a free pass into first class and a private party with the crew for having the flight to himself.
TikTok /Phil.Stringer

“They were kind of teasing me, like, ‘Really, bro, you couldn’t have left a few hours later?’” he added, according to the publication.

Once the flight was underway, Stringer’s nightmare delay turned itself around as he got his pick of first-class seats and top-notch food and drink service.

“I believe that your attitude determines your destination,” Stringer said. “Yeah, it was a sucky day. No one wants to stay in the airport for 18 hours, but if you have a positive view, you can turn something into a lot of fun.” 


Stringer's shows a shot of the empty plane before take off.
Stringer shows a shot of the empty plane before taking off.
TikTok /Phil.Stringer

He said they spent the whole flight chatting, joking and laughing with one another.

The ad-lib private flight ended with a group selfie of the crew and their VIP passenger and Stringer exchanging numbers with the airline staffers.

Many flight attendants said serving one passenger was actually a dream scenario in the comments below Stringer’s viral video.

“{I was a flight attendant for 10 years and this happened to me one time,” one commented. “Our passenger’s name was Ben and I will never forget it!! Such a blast!”

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