Washington: Flight delays can make passengers grumpy but not when the pilot orders pizzas for them as a treat, and that too on the runway.
That is exactly what a Delta Airlines pilot did to calm angry passengers.
The airline’s plane bound for Atlanta from Philadelphia was diverted to Knoxville, Tennessee, because of storms. As torrential rains swept through Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, some flights were delayed arriving at one of the world’s busiest airport and Delta’s home base.
Pizzas delivered to the aircraft via baggage cart seemed to cheer everyone up, according to their social media posts. “We are sitting on a runway stuck on a @Delta flight because of weather,” tweeted @RileyVasquez. “So they’re throwing us a pizza party!”
“Delta continues with class,” tweeted @BillyTheKidWitt. “Stuck due to weather and the crew ordered everyone pizza. #deltaairlines.”
The Philadelphia to Atlanta flight, which usually takes about two hours, landed three hours late in the evening, CNN reported.
Passengers on other delayed Delta flights reported similar feasts and it turned out that the pizza was the result of a broader edict.
“It’s part of an effort company-wide when weather disrupts our operation to get food and beverages to delayed customers,” Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant said. It was a bad weather day for both Delta and Atlanta’s busy airport.
Delta had 106 cancellations and 653 flight were delayed on Tuesday, according to Daniel Baker, head of Flightaware.com.
Baker applauded the use of food to handle the potentially difficult situation. “A meal can go a long way to calming nerves and it raises the observation that there were far fewer incidents of air rage when airlines gave out food and cocktails for free!” he said.
Such gestures have been reported in the US earlier as well.
Last year in July, Gerhard Bradner, a Frontier Airlines pilot and captain of an Airbus A320, ordered 50 pizzas – enough for the whole plane – when severe thunderstorms forced the plane to divert to southern Wyoming. He had paid out of his own pocket for the pizzas then.
Brandner had said he was hungry when the plane touched down so he decided to call a pizza outlet. And instead of eating the pie himself, he ordered 50 pizzas.