Love It: American Airlines Pilot Hand Delivers 40 Pizzas To Passengers On Delayed Flight

Filed Under: American

Delays are a fact of life in airline travel. Of course they are frustrating, but they happen. How an airline responds to a delay can either make the delay better or worse.

And this week comes a story about a delayed flight I would have actually liked to be on.


American Airlines flight AA2354 was due to fly from Los Angeles to Dallas (two of American’s major hubs) on Thursday, September 6.

The flight took off from Los Angeles six minutes early, but there were severe thunderstorms in northern Texas, so the plane was not able to land in Dallas as scheduled, and instead diverted to Wichita Falls arriving at 17:37 local time (after being scheduled to land at Dallas at 16:36).

Details are still vague as to exactly why, but the plane and 159 passengers were forced to remain in Wichita Falls overnight. Did the weather remain too bad the rest of the day?

Or perhaps the crew was due to finish their flying day at Dallas and the crew members were out of hours to wait until the weather improved and then continue on to complete the flight?

Anyway, there were plenty of passenger stuck at Witchita. The American pilot, Jeff Raines, took it upon himself to order, collect, and then hand-deliver forty pizzas from Papa John’s to the diverted passengers. Here’s the awesome video of the pilot physically going to collect the pizzas from the delivery driver:

American Airline has praised the pilot’s actions, saying:

‘We are always proud of our crew members who take great care of our customers who fly on American Airlines. We are fortunate that our crew members are the best in the business.’

Captain Raines was humble about his efforts following the event, saying on Facebook:

‘Thanks for the compliments, however this was a team effort. My First Officer was on the telephone with crew tracking/hotel desk arranging for our release and hotels for the entire crew. The Flight Attendants manned a galley cart from the aircraft serving waters, juice and sodas to all the passengers in the terminal. All while the Envoy SPS Personnel were arranging for a bus, re-booking flights, and answering a flurry of questions from these passengers. Thanks to everyone for your help – there is no ‘I’ in TEAM.’

The flight continued on to Dallas the following morning.

Bottom line

Delays suck.

I’m writing this as I’m stuck in an awful pub in a satellite terminal at London Stansted airport after it was announced that my Ryanair flight to Milan is delayed by 90 minutes and has barely functioning Wi-Fi.

I would much rather have been on this American flight than my Ryanair one!

What has been your best delay experience?

(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)

  1. Great service by the pilot, but if someone wanted to be on that flight just for Papa John pizza, I have to wonder about them.

    I’ve bought pizza for the flight attendents on a LAX-LIH flight that had to divert to SFO. Makes a crappy experience a little less crappy, but still, it’s crappy.

  2. I have to vote a thumbs down on this one. A Subway run would’ve been better. I’m sure things got pretty gassy on that plane in about 10 minutes.

  3. I’m sure this AA pilot saw all the stories of Delta ordering pizza for their delayed passengers and want to do something good for his airline.

  4. “Did the weather remain too bad the rest of the day?”

    DFW-based reader here. To answer your question – the weather was awful pretty much all afternoon/evening on Thursday. A t-storm sat right over the airport for about an hour starting around 4:00, then basically meandered around within 30 miles of the airfield until late evening. We had some pretty significant street flooding in my suburb (about 25 miles the way the crow files from DFW) due to about an inch and a half of rain in 45 minutes. Long way of saying, there was probably no way to get the plane back to DFW that night, and even if they could, I doubt they could’ve gotten a gate.

    Anyway, kudos to the pilot for trying to make the best of a bad situation.

  5. May 2017 on UA862 out of HKG…
    I was resigned to sitting in 17 (Econ plus) next to a couple with a baby which always makes me cringe.
    Just before the doors closed, the purser bumped me to the last unoccupied Polaris seat. It got even better when I got an additional 2 hours of free booze on the tarmac due to this happening during a Black rainstorm:

  6. Pilot and crew deserves more praise. Great read, just only the stock photos didn’t show an A321 but rather what looks like an E190 or 777, even A319/320 would still be better.

    Now if I’m a comedian my skit would be like this.
    Pilot orders 40 pizzas for passengers and it hits the news. When a reporter interviews him he responded “I used to fly for Southwest and we do it all the time, this is not a thing for American Airlines???” Then suddenly his wife calls and said “I just saw you on the news. You work for Doug Parker now. You won’t get that $500 you paid for the pizza back.”

    @Debit – I’m surprised you didn’t make ordering Papa Johns a Trump or racist thing. Up your game man, you’ve been off lately. Your comment is just “Dude, you are in a pub. Why do you want a nasty pizza?” Are you fake a Debit? The old Debit troll here is more political and have more sarcasm.

  7. It’s DFW and IAH’s logic. International flights first. Demotic can wait.
    It’s just couple miles outside Fort Worth. I would drive if I were the passenger.

  8. Trump sucks. If only he hadn’t pulled out of the Paris Accord there would never be thunderstorms again. Ever. it’s all Trumps fault.

  9. Cmon James, I though blogs like this can be better. You showed an ERJ interior on head image and article says 159 pax (737/320 capacity?) The showed a 777 pics in the end. Get the acts together man!

  10. Let’s recognise this deed as a good deed… it could have easily not happened. So thank everyone for trying to make lemonade from lemons here!

  11. @ Dom – I didn’t caption the images ‘this is the plane the passengers were on’. It’s a simple good news story for your weekend – I’ll save the AA fleet analysis articles for the weekdays ;P

  12. James, it’s a good news article fair enough but the photos just make the blog look like amateur hour. The standard of the blog has really decreased recently.

  13. Had a 90 minute delay on my BA flight from IAD to LHR 8/31 due to a storm passing over the airport. Someone asked about drinks and initially flight attendant said no, but as the delay stretched to over an hour she said she had received permission to distribute drinks and snacks. I was in Premium Economy so not sure if this also happened back in economy. It was a nice way to make the time pass a little faster.

  14. I was on a flight from Salt Lake City to Chicago O’hare. American Airlines. That day, Chicago had a bit of a storm. To make matters worse, the MD80 arrived late to Salt Lake City. Since the weather was so bad in Chicago, our flight was at the brink of being cancelled for over three hours, but all the passengers decided to stay on the flight. They handed out water, which was kind. When we finally took off, we found out we did not have enough fuel to circle around Chicago, so we made a refueling stop in Minneapolis. Then, after forty minutes, we flew back to Chicago.

  15. I was flying into DFW on Thursday as well. It was a mess because of the weather.

    Unlike the passengers on this flight, I did not have a good customer service experience. Two flights were cancelled because of the Dallas weather. The gate agents in Phoenix were playing a game with the standby list on a delayed flight with availability to protect their friends on the nonrevenue list. AA was sending paying passengers on the cancelled flights on connecting red-eyes all over the country. None of the nonrevenue passengers in seats should have been on that plane. This was not a Dzero issue as the flight was already delayed an hour at boarding. It then had another one hour ground hold at the gate after boarding. This wasn’t a mistake either as they were talking about it openly right in front of me.

    What must be really irritating for the amazing employees at AA like this pilot who are focused on customer service are the minority of really crappy ones like the agents I ran across in Phoenix who do not value passengers and KNOW that they will get away with it. It drags this once great airline down.

    P.S. James I love your contributions to the blog. Keep it up. But you know that airplane and airline geeks are primary readers of this blog and if you don’t match the stock photo pictures to the right airplane type, you will get comments (some of which will be unnecessarily mean-spirited).

  16. United did this for us once when our IAH-SEA was diverted to Boise due to the death of the captain in-flight. The short staff at Boise did a fantastic job handling this unexpected circumstance. United flew in a replacement pilot from SFO and we were back on our way in about 3-4 hours.

  17. Good news, good care and concern for paying customers. Give that pilot an award, and always accept generosity, kind people!

  18. Why is this audience allergic to good news?
    Forgot… It’s the troll generation.
    Classy gesture by a gracious man. Nuff said.

  19. Hats off to the pilot. Delays aren’t fun. It’s nice that he cared enough to do that. Caring is nice. It’s lacking in today’s world.

  20. First, that’s what you get for flying Ryan Air ! I’ve never flown with them.

    Be glad it was American Air. I fly Lufthansa alot and they wouldn’t even offer you a bag of peanuts in a similar situation. Schade !

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