Common Sense, Human Compassion A Winning Combination
Much has been written lately about the downside of air
travel. Flight delays and hassles, and incidents of being stuck for
hours in a metal tube appear to be at an all-time high. The word
'stranded' seems to have become synonymous with the word
So, it was nice to find out that a few airline workers have
been quietly doing their part to change that. The New York
Times reported Tuesday of several cases where being stranded while
traveling by air was almost... pleasant.
On August 17, passengers aboard three delayed flights had pizza
and soda waiting for them as they began their wait. Delta Air Lines
Flight 424 from Phoenix to Kennedy International Airport was one
such flight. About an hour and a half into the flight, the captain
informed the passengers they had been diverted to Syracuse due to
thunderstorms in the northeast.
Then the pilot said something that probably floored his
"I'm not going to keep you on the plane. I'm going to pull up to
a gate where you can get off, as long as you wait there in case we
have to leave," he said. "I know you've only had cheese and
crackers. So I called the Sbarro in the terminal and asked them to
keep sending pizzas out until the whole plane gets fed."
Yeah, our jaws dropped, too.
"I was astounded," passenger Robynne Reiber said. "I couldn't
believe how well I was being treated." Tables were already set
up when they arrived at the gate.
"The pilot said it might take a while to get everybody fed
because this is probably more pizzas than they're used to turning
out at a time, so please be patient," Reiber said.
Not only that, but flight attendants helped serve the bounty
while the pilot kept everyone informed on their progress. No
sitting around in the dark for these folks!
The pilots on that
flight were Gary Hale and Ty Rhameand; the flight attendants were
David Evans, Nancy Grimshaw and Melisa Walker, reported the
Then, in Albany -- the same day -- it happened again. Passengers
aboard a Continental Express flight bound for Newark founded
themselves with a weather-related delay at Albany International
Airport. That group found themselves of the receiving end of plan
conceived for just such an occurrence.
ALB's chief executive, John O'Donnell and public affairs
director Doug Myers, recently spent five hours stranded on a parked
plane. "We decided we can't let this kind of thing happen in
Albany," said Myers.
So, the pair devised a simple plan: send out food for flights
delayed a long time and keep food vendors open in the airport if
increasing delays were occurring in the region. Pizza was on the
way to the Newark-bound Continental Express flight when the pilot
returned to the gate to refuel.
Here's hoping that kind of common sense is contagious
(although the best-case scenario would still involve the
airlines not overbooking and overscheduling their flights, the
kinds of practices which lead to non-weather-related delays in
the first place -- Ed.)