Ordering Pizza to the Plane During a Ground Delay

Via sobore on Milepoint, a Delta flight from Boston to Atlanta had to divert to Knoxville — and while on the ground there they catered with a delivery of 60 pizzas.

Michele Carson-Vaughn, Delta’s director of field services for the Southeast, told WXIA-TV that it was the Atlanta-based airline’s Knoxville station manager who ordered the pizzas after the plane had been stranded for three hours, reports Atlanta Business Chronicle broadcast partner WXIA-TV.

“He called the pizza place and said I need 60 pizzas as soon as possible and brought them in,” Carson-Vaughn told the station. The manager’s name was not disclosed.

She told the station that Delta worked with the Transportation Security Administration to get security clearance for the pizza deliveries.

The pizzas had to be delivered by police car, rather than allowing the pizza parlor’s delivery car onto the tarmac.

A year ago I did something similar, fortunately we were still at the gate which made things rather less complicated.

On the oneworld MegaDO we had a two hour mechanical delay in Seattle. Not a big deal on its own, but we had offloaded all of the catering. The night before we had flown Dallas – Seattle and had American’s full international business class catering for our entire chartered 757. It took awhile to serve and people really prefer to be up in the aisles. So we opted against meals for Seattle – Los Angeles. The catering was replaced with alcohol.

With a ground delay though and everyone drinking (and bidding in a charity auction for a limited supply of champagne bottles) food became a necessity. All-in we would have wound up with over 5 hours of drinking and no food for a full 757.

So it was imperative to find some way to feed the group. And quickly. And from the terminal.

Directly next to our gate was a pizza place. Tommy Danielsen catered first class with personal pizzas, but there was no time to have them make enough pizzas for the full plane.

Options were limited. For a moment I pondered the Chinese takeout place, but realized that would be messy… and smelly.

Instead there’s a bagel place close to closing down that was preparing sandwiches for the next day. We bought all of those and got them shop to just keep making more. We also bought all of their salads.

I thought I was going to be buying 130 sandwiches but American’s Seattle station manager came up with his credit card (thank you!). Then we carted all of the sandwiches and salads onto the plane, passed them down the aisle, just in time to be ready to take off for Los Angeles.

A pizza — or sandwich — party can really improve a ground delay.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Surprised you missed out on the points earning opportunity to pay for the food with your cc and have AA reimburse you!

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