The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Dulles International Airport threw a surprise party for the passengers waiting to board United Airlines flight No. 1172 on Friday, June 15, in celebration of the airport's 500 millionth passenger.
The party included cake, beverages and an extra suprise for a lucky passenger, according to an MWAA press release. The airport opened in 1962 and United Airlines has had a hub at Dulles for 25 years. One traveler on the flight was selected as the person to receive the symbolic honor of being passenger number 500 million.
The Los Angeles-bound passenger and his wife were presented with a framed picture of the iconic airport terminal, designed by Eero Saarinen, as well as a parking voucher good for one free parking exit and a $50 gift card to use at any of the airport's shops and restaurants.
MWAA said it is impossible to determine exactly which passenger was the one, so the airport used science to figure out when the airport would be most likely to hit the milestone.
The Dulles staff determined that the passenger would enter the airport at about 11:14 a.m. on Friday, and based on the time of day, that passenger would likely board a flight departing at about 12:30 p.m.
The United Airlines flight to Los Angeles was selected from a group of flights scheduled to depart at that time, and a passenger on the flight was chosen.
The celebration of the 500 millionth passenger is part of MWAA's 50th anniversary of the Dulles International Airport.