When Flight Diverted, Crew Ordered Pizza For Passengers

Storms Divert DIA Flight To Pueblo

No one likes to have their flight diverted, but when it happened to a group of passengers flying to Denver, their flight crew made sure they were well taken care of.

On Tuesday, a Southwest Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale to Denver was put in a holding pattern over Denver International Airport because of stormy weather. Originally the pilot told the passenger they'd be arriving 10 minutes early, but stormy weather changed that.

"I checked the Doppler radar on my Blackberry and noticed a pattern of heavy thunderstorm activity building east of the Front Range, of course, right over DIA!" according to James Mino, a passenger on the flight.

The plane "zig-zagged over Colorado for a while, then diverted to the Pueblo airport," Mino said.

"We were advised the Pueblo airport shuts down at 6 p.m., so operations had to be notified of our impending arrival," Mino said. "A Southwest plane had arrived ahead of us, soon afterwards, another Southwest plane landed and was parked in back of ours."

Mino said in an e-mail that the passengers waited two hours in Pueblo for DIA to reopen. When they were told about the wait, Mino said the passenger response was not much different from Broncos fans after a missed field goal.

But then the pilot announced he was ordering pizza for everyone. Mino said the pizzas arrived in about 30 minutes thanks to Little Caesars. He said some 40 pizzas were delivered to the three Southwest Airlines planes.

"Flight attendants were VERY patient while distributing snacks and soft drinks, but no liquor," Mino wrote in an e-mail. Mino photographed the pilot as he personally offered pizza, slice by slice, row by row. He said, "The flight crew went out of their way to make sure spirits were high through this ordeal."

Mino told 7NEWS, "We arrived in Denver four hours late, but [we] had a memorable experience!"

"It's not uncommon for our employees to take the extra step to take care of our customers," said Chris Mainz, spokesman for Southwest Airlines.

Mainz confirmed the crew ordered pizza and had it delivered to the aircraft.

"We do reward and encourage our employees to do something on their own," said Mainz.

Six flights from DIA were diverted to Pueblo airport on Tuesday night, according to Connie DeVore, the administrative technician at Pueblo airport.

Three flights were from Southwest Airlines, one from Republic Airlines, one Frontier Airlines flight and one flight from Great Lakes Aviation. The diverted flights started arriving at 6:45 p.m. with the last one arriving at 9:28 p.m., DeVore said.