Just exactly how much more room become apparent when Mr Pike, who works for a firm of City stockbrokers, discovered he was the only passenger on the British Airways jumbo. "I thought there would be more space on this flight, but I didn't realise how much," he said.
Told he could choose any seat on the Boeing 747-400 flight BA116, he opted for the best - a pounds 2,3733 seat instead of the pounds 422 economy class. "Naturally it had to be first class," he said.
So with leg-room a-plenty, he sipped champagne on what he described as "the most pleasant and relaxing journey I've ever had. There was just me and the 17 crew, so there was no way you could complain about the service".
Other passengers had taken up the option of an alternative flight when a fault grounded their original London-bound plane at JFK airport, New York, for more than three hours.
But Mr Pike, 33,of Kingston, Surrey, had time to spare and chose to wait. The journey home was the icing on the cake after a successful mission to find a Buzz Lightyear toy for his godson. "Had I known the plane was going to be empty, I'd have filled it up with toys," he said.Reuse content