Pilot Buys Pizzas For Passengers Grounded By Storm
Weather diversion: It's a term passengers and flight crews never want to hear. It means the destination hammered by storms and everyone on board will spend hours elbow-to-elbow in cramped conditions.
So, when Frontier Airlines pilot Gerhard Bradner heard that Denver's airport was closed because of thunderstorms and flight 719 out of Washington, D.C. at 6:40 pm Eastern would instead head to Cheyenne, Wyo., as KUSA-TV reported, he knew it could be a long night. A couple of hours passed on the tarmac in Cheyenne. Bradner was hungry and knew the 157 passengers would be as well. What food there was on the plane quickly ran out, and a hungry crowd can turn into a cranky one.
So he did what any intelligent pilot would do in a case like this: He called a Cheyenne Domino's Pizza for a delivery. Bradner paid for the pizzas out of his own pocket.
Restaurant manager Andrew Ritchie took the call at about 10 p.m., just as he was ready to send his workers home for the night, according to the Associated Press.
"If the need arises you need to take care of your family; you need to take care of your passengers. They are my responsibility the moment they step on the aircraft until they get off the aircraft," Captain Brandner said.
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"I put my hand over the phone and I said: `Guys, you're coming back,' " Ritchie said, recalling what he told his employees.
The order came to about 30 pizzas. with paper plates, all of which had to be made and delivered in less than 30 minutes, about half the time they would normally have to bake that many pies. Off the delivery people went.
"Next thing you know, Domino's Pizza was rolling up to the plane," passenger Logan Torres said to CNN. Boxes of pizzas went to the flight attendants, who passed them out.
Bradner could hear the passengers applaud, but he didn't get a chance to watch them eat and to take a bow, according to the KUSA report. He had to spend the time on the flight deck, reprogramming computers for the trip to Denver. At 10:30 the plane took off again and, only about 15 minutes later, landed at its final destination.
AOL Jobs contacted Frontier Airlines, which provided answers to several questions but didn't respond to the one that asked if anyone reimbursed Bradner for the pizzas. Hopefully the company at least sent over an order of garlic bread sticks as an appetizer.