In an Instagram video, released last week, Bollywood singer, songwriter and composer Mika Singh claimed he had booked the entire first-class cabin of an Emirates flight from Dallas to Dubai for himself.
“Today I had a great show in Dallas. I want to share with you that Michael Jackson used to say he wanted to travel alone,” Singh said in the video. “Today, I decided that I want to travel alone and I don’t want any disturbance. I don’t want to see a single person in the First Class, so I booked the entire First Class.”
The post drew ire from social media users, with some appalled at such a display of wealth. Here are some reasons we believe the boast in the video may be in jest:
Was it taken after other passengers had left the plane?
Some people on social media say the video was taken after the cabin had cleared out. Indeed, careful examination of the video shows that more than one seat has been used. Also, as he pans around the cabin, although there is no mess (as would be expected in first class), some of the seats definitely look sat in, with pillows not quite at their plumpest and some lights on. As well as this, a member of the cabin crew can be seen in the background, picking something up from a seat three rows away from Singh’s.
Is it possible to book the entire first class cabin?
We called Emirates’ call centre to see if it was possible to book an entire first class cabin. The person in the ticketing office, seemed rightly taken aback at the inquiry, and said no. On our last check, a one-way flight from Dallas to Dubai on Emirates first class would cost Dh74,400. “Why do you want to do that, why don’t you book a jet?” she asked. When we asked Emirates for further information they said that they could not comment on their customers’ reservations.
Why didn’t Singh book a private jet?
We called two private jet companies, both of whom requested to remain anonymous, to inquire how much it would be to book a private jet from Dallas to Dubai. The first agent said that prices varied wildly according to requirements and requests: the size of aircraft, the crew, how many passengers travelling and airport schedules. So, although the agent stressed that no fixed price could be quoted, it would indeed be possible for the Dh744,000 Singh might have paid for ten seats in first class. The second private jet company said that prices varied but it could be possible for a minimum of 175,000 euros (Dh752,000).
But then the Skywards miles …
Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at Strategic Aero Research, believes there may be other reasons Singh opted for a commercial flight. “It might well be that the choice not to hire a private jet may stem from the fact he may have wanted to accumulate Skywards miles – something he couldn’t have done on a private jet,” said Ahmad. “Also, a mainline operator like Emirates will nearly always have a clockwork schedule, whereas charter/private jets don’t always have as much timing flexibility as one might think given the infrequency of their services.” Ahmad said he did find it odd, however, that someone would pay for all of the seats. “You still only get service for one passenger. You can only sit in one seat at a time, eat one meal at a time.”
Perhaps the whole thing was intended as a light-hearted joke, with Singh believing that no one would take him seriously. Bollywood singer Shaan responded to the video with one of his own. He posted a video on Instagram of him and his family at a bowling alley. Mimicking Singh’s voice, he said: “Me and my family, wherever we go, we book the entire place so no one disturbs us. We have booked all the lanes, total Mika Singh style. Paaji, we follow you.”
.. Input from agencies