Pizza makes everything better as passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 2354 from Los Angeles to Dallas-Fort Worth can surely attest to. The travelers were forced to land at the regional airport in Wichita Falls, Texas after severe thunderstorms hit the northern part of the state.
The 159 passengers knew they were looking at potentially spending the night at the airport. Luckily, the world’s best pilot was on hand to make life a little easier. Captain Jeff Raines called Papa John's and ordered 40 pizzas for delivery at Wichita Falls Municipal Airport (SPS).
Not only did Raines pick up the check, he also ran back and forth from the delivery car to the passengers to personally deliver the pizzas. "I don't think I've seen this before," said Josh Raines, an airport employee and relative of the captain, who shot a video of the incident.
@AmericanAir The Captain of Flight 2354 bought pizza for everybody who was stuck in Wichita Falls Regional airport after a weather diversion. I don’t think I’ve seen this before. pic.twitter.com/sLmo76ckUB— Josh Raines (@J_reigns2) September 7, 2018
"What a guy, what a guy," people can be heard saying in the background. On Facebook, however, the captain refused to take credit, saying the entire crew had helped out. "Thanks for the compliments, however, this was a "TEAM" effort," he said.
"My First Officer was on the telephone with crew tracking/hotel desk arranging for our release and hotels for the entire crew. The Flight Attendants manned a galley cart from the aircraft serving waters, juice, and sodas to all the passengers in the terminal. All while the Envoy SPS Personnel were arranging for a bus, re-booking flights, and answering a flurry of questions from these passengers. Thanks to everyone for your help - there is no "I" in TEAM," he added.
American Airlines confirmed to CNN the flight had to be diverted due to bad weather, though it continued its journey to Dallas-Fort Worth the following morning. "We are always proud of our crew members who take great care of our customers who fly on American Airlines and are fortunate that they are the best in the business," said airline spokesperson Tom Henderson.
According to the airline, it is standard procedure to provide passengers with overnight accommodations when a flight is diverted or canceled and passengers are stranded overnight. That may be the case, but Captain Raines did his profession proud by going above and beyond the call of duty.
According to his Linkedin bio, Captain Raines, a North Richland Hills resident, who has a BS in Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, an MBA from Central Michigan University, and a Master's in Accident Investigation / Safety Management Systems from USC, has worked at American Airlines for five years. He is certainly due for a commendation and a raise. Raines is married and has four children. He is originally from Proctorville, Ohio.