Diverted AA Pax Pleased By Pilot-Hosted Pizza Party

Graeme Peto, Open Jaw


Flight diversions can be a real bummer, cutting into vacations or throwing business travel plans into disarray. Sometimes, however, an airline staff member goes the extra mile to ease the impact on travellers.

Last Thursday, stormy weather in northern Texas prevented American Airlines flight 2354 from completing its scheduled trip from Los Angeles to Dallas-Fort Worth. The plane was instead forced to land in the small town of Wichita Falls, Tx. When Wichita Falls’ airport received the sudden influx of 159 hungry passengers, they weren't in a position to properly handle it. 

Luckily for everybody,  AA Captain Jeff "Pizza Man" Raines knew exactly what to do. Dialling up the local Papa John's, Captain Raines ordered 40 large pizzas, enough to feed the entire flight. Raines paid the bill out of his own pocket, an estimated US$500. In a video posted to Twitter, Capt. Raines can be seen passing out pizzas to hungry pax outside the airport's terminal. 

"What a guy!” shouted one overjoyed traveller. 

Along with the pizza, AA provided hotel rooms for the passengers, as is the airline's standard protocol for diversions. The flight was resumed Friday morning after a break in the weather. Like everybody involved, AA was quick to praise its captain's quick thinking.  

The humble Raines, instead of taking full credit, praised his crew in a heartfelt Facebook message: "Thanks to everyone for your help - there is no 'I' in TEAM."

Captain Raines may be right (as usual) there, but there is an 'I' in PIZZA. 

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