Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Bad Weather Strands Plane on Tarmac, Pilot Orders 23 Pizzas for Hungry Passengers


When dangerous winter weather prevented his plane from reaching its destination, an Air Canada pilot exercised his leadership skills by ordering pizza for everyone onboard and paying for it out of his own pocket.

On March 4, Air Canada flight 608 left Toronto on an afternoon flight bound for Halifax.

The flight should have been a quick two-hour or so journey, but bad weather kept the plane from landing as scheduled.

The plane landed in the nearby city of Fredericton, but the passengers and crew of flight 608 found themselves on the ground with nowhere to go.

The airport was flooded with planes and passengers, meaning the Air Canada passengers could do nothing except wait — and wait, and wait.

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No meals had been scheduled for what was intended to be a short flight, and the captain knew the passengers and crew were getting hungry.

He called a local restaurant, Minglers Restaurant and Pub, and asked if he could have 23 large pizzas delivered to the airplane.

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Minglers owner Roch Larivée said his business fields plenty of unusual requests, but this one came as quite the surprise.

“We do a catering business here too, so we’re used to unusual numbers, but I mean on a storm night? For a plane? No,” Larivée told CBC News.

With only three kitchen staff working, they quickly prepared 23 large cheese and pepperoni pizzas and sent them to the airport as requested.

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The pizzas were a hit, and the pilot was everyone’s new hero.

“It was something that could have been very stressful — he made it a lot easier,” passenger Philomena Hughes said.

“They looked like they appreciated the pizza — they were pretty calm and pretty cheery.”

She praised the captain for being upfront and honest with everyone about the delay, communicating with them on a regular basis.

“It makes such a difference when you know what’s going on,” Hughes said.

Passenger Bill Karsten agreed that the pilot’s leadership helped keep everyone calm and patient.

“He walked entirely down the length of the plane just to make sure we knew what was going on and whatnot, before departing to Halifax,” Karsten said. “So I think the mood was set, in reality, by the great work of the captain.”

Hughes added that the pilot wanted to make sure the praise was equally distributed among everyone who helped make the pizza party a reality.

“He wanted everyone to know that it was the whole crew, that he couldn’t have done it without the crew,” Hughes said. “There was lots of help, there were a couple of Air Canada Jazz pilots that were traveling on the plane and they were helping to pick up the pizza and distribute it. Everybody chipped in, so he didn’t want to take the whole credit for himself.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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