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How this woman ended up on a commercial flight all by herself

A woman flying from Rochester, N.Y., to Washington, D.C., ended up on a commercial flight all by herself after a series of travel delays.
/ Source: TODAY

Forget being able to stretch out because the seat next to you on the plane is empty.

This woman had an entire commercial flight to herself.

Beth VerSteeg was livin' the dream with a flight all to herself from Rochester to her home in Washington, D.C. Beth VerSteeg

Beth Ver Steeg, 23, was trying to fly back from Rochester, N.Y., to Washington, D.C., after visiting her parents for the holidays when a series of delays on New Year's Day ended up with her on a plane to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport all by herself.

"I was like, 'This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,''' Ver Steeg told TODAY. "I was excited, but in the moment I was exhausted."

She posted a selfie she took on the empty plane on Reddit, where it received more than a million views.

Ver Steeg, who declined to identify which airline she was flying, was initially supposed to leave at 9:30 a.m. on New Year's Day. The flight was delayed for five hours and then ultimately cancelled due to mechanical problems, Ver Steeg said.

It began a 16-hour odyssey in and out of Rochester International Airport. A ticket agent put her on another flight that was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. but also kept getting delayed, so she went back to her parents' house and then ultimately returned to the airport around 10:30 p.m.

During the time she was away, another agent had later realized that the passengers from Ver Steeg's flight could have been put on an earlier flight. Their tickets were switched, and they left on the earlier plane.

However, Ver Steeg was not in the airport at the time and received no notification of the change. When she showed up to the waiting area for her flight, she was the only one there.

"Almost an hour before the flight was scheduled, a ticket agent came up asked me if I was there for that flight and was like, 'I knew this would happen,''' Ver Steeg said.

Ver Steeg was put on a one-hour flight leaving at 1 a.m. on Jan. 2 that was intended to be only for transporting crew members.

Ver Steeg boarded the plane and both pilots introduced themselves. There was one flight attendant, and she went through the usual pre-flight spiel about seat belts and oxygen masks for an audience of one.

"She just played the audio but went through the motions about twice as fast,'' Ver Steeg said. "It was a lot of giggling. Normally I would listen to a podcast or something before takeoff, but I didn't want to do that because I was the only one she was looking at."

Unfortunately, Ver Steeg didn't get to luxuriate in first class because the plane was so small there was no first class section.

The friendly flight attendant offered to bring out the drink cart, but an exhausted Ver Steeg just wanted to sleep. She spread out among two seats and dozed off for most of the short flight.

She then realized the final perk of her rare situation after landing.

"I got to leave immediately, which was nice!"

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.