Woman visiting dying mom was sole passenger on Boston flight, gets first-class upgrade and personal shout-out
The world is going through unprecedented times, thanks to the pandemic called COVID-19. which has hit over 1.2 million lives worldwide. In the US, the situation is even grim as more than 26 percent of the people affected globally reside in this country. The global death toll is nearing 70,000 while in the US, it is almost 10,000. People have been stranded at their homes that have become isolated islands virtually, in a bid to prevent the infection from spreading.
And among those who are facing bizarre experiences in these abnormal times is Sheryl Pardo. According to a report in CNN, Pardo received bad news amid the chaotic times and it is about her 83-year-old mother Sandra's deteriorating health. Not expecting to meet her ailing mother more than once thereafter, Pardo planned a trip from Washington DC to Boston and on her day of journey which was March 27, Pardo discovered something rare. She was the only passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 9389 that was heading to Boston that day.
Pardo was pleasantly surprised to find the flight attendants, Jessica and Dion, giving her a warm welcome aboard and that was enough to kill the nervousness Pardo had over flying in the times of the pandemic. She told CNN later that once her nervousness receded, she felt it was safer at the airport than going to a grocery shop.
“I think we all have this attitude of airplanes are really dangerous, and there would be exposure, but there was nobody there,” she said.
Pardo had a pleasant 'solo' flight
To her surprise, Pardo’s seat was upgraded to first class and there she had a happy time sharing stories with Jessica and Don who had all the time to spare for her since there was no second flyer. They spoke about Pardo’s sick mother, took selfies and even joked over the fact that the flight had more crew members than passengers.
Jessica even gave Pardo a personal shout-out on the plane’s loudspeaker. Pardo was thankful that the plane made her journey a smooth one at a time when there was more than one reason to feel low. “I want them to know how much it meant to me,” she told CNN, adding: "It was super positive, which I didn't expect from that trip.”
Pardo’s mother, who was suffering from dementia, passed away on March 28.
Pardo’s story is a little episode of optimism at a time when the pandemic has grounded the aviation industry in the US. Although a recent report said there were still many flights doing the domestic routes in the country, several operators have suspended flights amid the lockdown and self-isolation.
American Airlines is grounding 60-70 percent of its domestic flights and 70-80 percent of international flights compared to April 2019. The figures are set to head further south in May when the carrier is targeting a reduction of its domestic and international operations by a staggering 80-90 percent.
American Airlines’ Senior Vice President of Network Strategy Vasu Raja recently told Reuters that the carrier hasn’t targeted full suspension of operations, stressing on the emergency need of medical workers and others even as frequent single-passenger flights have showed how much the industry is bleeding. “The important thing is to provide a minimum level of essential service to customers... but we do it in such a way where we don't burn an excessive amount of cash,” he said, saying gross bookings had gone down to “zero”.