A Frontier Airlines pilot ordered pizza for his stranded passengers on Monday after the plane was diverted due to severe thunderstorms. Flight 719 took off from Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., around 6:40 pm ET bound for Denver. However, severe weather forced the aircraft to divert to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The plane’s passengers were understandably upset with the delay, but after sitting on the runway for more than an hour, they were saved by the pilot, Captain Gerhard Brandner, who made a phone call that made the passengers’ day.
Passenger Logan Marie Torres told Denver news station Fox 31, “[The captain] realized we had all gone without real substance for hours longer than planned.” Torres added, “The captain took his own initiative. [He said over the intercom], ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Frontier Airlines is known for being one of the cheapest airlines in the U.S., but your captain is not cheap. I just ordered pizza for the entire plane.’ “
The passengers celebrated as almost 40 Dominos pizzas were delivered to the airplane while it was sitting on the tarmac. Colorado’s 9 News caught up with the pilot who ordered pizza for his plane when the aircraft arrived in Denver. Brandner explained that he was hungry when the plane touched down in Cheyenne, but didn’t want to eat on his own.
So, the pilot ordered pizza for the whole plane and paid out of his own pocket. After he made the announcement over the intercom, he heard the whole plane applaud. Captain Brandner added that he felt it was his duty to help the passengers, who he believed were as hungry as him.
A Frontier Airlines spokesperson later told NBC News that “it is not unusual for our pilots to go above and beyond to provide care for our customers.”
After a two-hour delay, the plane and its happy passengers departed Cheyenne and arrived safely in Denver just after midnight local time, nearly five hours late.
While the act may seem like a rare display, USA Today reported last year that a Delta flight faced with a similar situation also received free pizza from the airline. In that case, a flight from Boston to Atlanta was diverted to Knoxville because of bad weather in Atlanta. Delta’s director of field services for the Southwest told a local station that it was the Atlanta-based airline’s Knoxville station manager who ordered the pizzas after the aircraft was stranded for three hours.
The pilot who ordered pizza for his passengers stated of the act of kindness, “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.”
[Image by Razvan Socol]