A UAE based businessman, Dr. SP Singh Oberoi, a prominent social worker and philanthropist has become the latest passenger to fly solo from India to Dubai. This time it was Air India flight from Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport Amritsar.
Earlier, Bhavesh Javeri, the 40-year old businessman had flown on two-and-a-half-hour journey as the lone passenger onboard an Emirates 350-seater Boeing 777 aircraft flight from Mumbai to Dubai on May 19. Javeri had booked an economy class ticket priced at Rs. 18,000
“Sarbatt Da Bhala Charitable Trust” Chairman Dr. Dr. SP Singh Oberoi shared his memories of the trip on social media.
When he boarded the flight at Amritsar, he was taken aback after knowing he was the only passenger in the aircraft.
“I took my flight from Amritsar to Dubai by Air India (AI-929) on June 23 at around 4 am. I was very lucky to be the only passenger on the entire flight. I feel like a Maharaja during my travel,” Oberoi told ANI.
Oberoi, who holds a ten-year golden visa and operates a business in Dubai, said he was treated well by the crew and was even photographed inside the empty plane.
According to media reports, Dr. Oberoi bought the ticket for the Air India flight for 750 Dirham (approx. Rs. 15000), and he never thought that he will have experience of flying in a chartered plane.
However, he admitted the journey eventually got boring with no passengers. To pass his time, he even resorted to counting the number of seats and windows of the Airbus 320 aircraft.
“If I get a chance to travel solo next time I will refuse. It is good for once in a lifetime experience. It was very boring,” he said.
“I missed the usually ‘Jo Bole So Nihaal’ and ‘Sat Sri Akal’ chants that passengers from Punjab usually raise during take-off and landing of the aircraft,” he added.
Dr. Oberoi had arrived in Punjab from Dubai a few days ago. He had taken an Air India ticket from Amritsar to Dubai at 4 am for 70 dirhams (approx. Rs. 15000), but when he reached the airport, the Air India staff refused permission to him for boarding the flight. He also showed the staff documents related to Corona Vaccination Certificate and Corona Negative Report. But after the intervention of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, he was allowed to do so.
Due to the Corona epidemic, normal passenger flights from the UAE to India have been suspended since April 24, but diplomatic officials, Golden Visa holders and special persons are exempted.
Singh, 66, a prominent social worker and hails from Patiala in Punjab State, had played an active role in repatriation of Indian labourers and other compatriots during the Covid-19-enforced lockdown restrictions last year.
Initially, he had come to Dubai to work as a mechanic. He worked for four years and returned to his native Punjab to start his own company that supplied construction and building materials. Later, he returned to Dubai in 1993 and started his own General Trading Company and Dubai Grand Hotel in 1998. Singh also started Oberoi Properties & Investments LLC in 2004.
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