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Frontier Airlines captain buys pizza for passengers stuck on stranded flight

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A three-hour Frontier Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Denver on Monday turned into seven hours after severe weather rumbled through Denver.

Flight 719 left Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport at 6:40 p.m. EDT Monday, nearly an hour late, according to data by FlightAware.

When bad weather rolled into the Denver metro area, the flight circled in western Nebraska before having to land at Cheyenne Regional Airport because the plane was running low on fuel.

flight4

Flight pattern of Frontier Airlines flight 719 from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Denver International Airport on Monday, July 7, 2014. Bad weather forced the plane to land in Cheyenne, Wyo., where the captain bought pizza for all of the passengers while waiting for clearance to return to Denver. (Credit: FlightAware)

After waiting about an hour on the ground, the captain “realized we had all gone without real substance for hours longer than planned,” passenger Logan Marie Torres, who is also Miss Colorado United States Teen 2014, said.

Torres said the plane was hot because the engines were not running and passengers were getting agitated.

Logan Marie Torres

Logan Marie Torres

That’s when the captain, Berhard Brandner, made an announcement over the intercom.

“The captain took his own initiative,” Torres said.   He said “Ladies and gentleman, Frontier Airlines is known for being one of the cheapest airlines in the U.S., but your captain is not cheap,” Torres recounted. “I just ordered pizza for the entire plane.”

Torres said more than 50 pizzas were delivered to the airplane while it was sitting on the tarmac.

Torres followed up that the flight plane was on the ground for about two hours in Cheyenne before getting the go-ahead to fly back to Denver. It arrived at Denver International Airport just after midnight, nearly five hours late.

But at least the passengers didn’t land on empty stomachs.

28 comments

    • Nick

      Uh no. You have to love this pilot. Frontier won’t even give you a cup of water for free. I bet everyone on that plane had to pay $2 for a drink to go along with that pizza.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, you can get a cup of water for free. Just ask for a cup of ice water not just water.

      • Scuba Steve

        Though I fly Frontier to and from San Diego often, you are correct: you have to love this pilot. The airlines itself isn’t that great.

  • David Hoffman

    Well the flight crew dealt with the situation. I have to wonder about the inability for Frontier to rapidly coordiante an arangement with the catering companies that are located at the airport. Those contingency plans the FAA had the airlines develop for situations like this are useless if the flight crew has to call an off airport food preparation and delivery establishment to deal with the situation.

    • jonathonbarton

      David,
      Coordinate with *who*, now?
      Have you ever *been* to CYS?
      CYS has one gate, one part-time TSA line, and no jetbridge.
      Great Lakes makes the super short 35 minute flight from Denver with 19 passenger B-1900s. A plane so small that there is no galley, no flight attendant, no lavatory, no cockpit door, even.
      There *aren’t* any “catering companies located at the airport” that Frontier could have coordinated anything with…

  • Anonymous

    Now that is providing good client service! Other airlines could learn a thing or two from this. Good for you Frontier for hiring such caring people.

  • Anonymous

    People, read he article. Frontier as an airline had *NOTHING* to do with this. the Captain did it himself. Frontier itself would have let them stew.

  • Anthony

    Way to go Pilot! And way to go to the local Domino’s that was closing! My hat’s off to all of you for taking care of people! Ignore the nay-sayers who are unable to focus on the good in the situation.

  • Michael Topping

    I wonder when large airlines will realize the real profit to be made in providing customers with food and drink options. I have been to so many airports like Cheyenne Regional, might have even been there at some point. All services stop at about 9- 10 pm and they have 1 or 2 food offerings, no bar. They are the exception. The is no excuse for not having full service at a major airport. 24-7 Most other country’s really FAIL also. Heathrow and Charles de gaulle stop at about 10 pm. If you have a layover you are sleeping on a metal bench, unless you want to pay $300 or so for as room. Now Amsterdam Schiphol that is a example of what a airport should be.
    Like many people, I believe at this point in the history of do as little as possible air travel, I would pay a premium to have good food and drink service, instead of having to think ahead and bring food and drink from off site and have it in my carry on. And please give us some kind of free basic dark sleeping areas – pods or something.

    • Jonathon Barton (@jonathonbarton)

      Michael,

      I’ve been working at a major international airport for over a decade, and I can say with confidence that the airside businesses close specifically because (and contrarily to your assertion) there is *zero* profit to be made by staying open overnight. The thing you’re not taking into account is that businesses exist for one reason, and one reason only. *To make money*. They’re not there to feed you. They’re not there to give you a place to sleep. They exist *exclusively* to exchange something you value (cash) for something that you value more than cash at that moment. (food, a room, etc.)

      If there actually was any money to be made by staying open, they would definitely stay open.

  • Dave

    I am a retired Southwest Airline captain. I purchased pizza for my entire load of passengers as well one night back in the late 90’s in Phoenix. Several years before that (mid 90s), while I was still a first officer and security wasn’t as big of an issue as it is now, I once walked straight off the airport complex at Midway airport in Chicago through a maintenance access gate and walked across the street to a White castle burger joint and bought a boat load of burgers for passengers and crew.

  • Anonymous

    My point exactly………lessons for the airline industry to empower their employees to do what is right.

  • r

    We were on another Frontier flight which came in from Cheyene around midnight & left for Missoula about 12:40 am. As we came intp Missoula the pilot aborted the landing about 50 ft off therway and pulledupquickly. There was one short announcement saying there was a cros wind. But when we finally did land 40 min later (Denver to Msla normally 1:40 min flight) the air was very still. We were wondering there was problems with the plane. It ssounded liked there corld have been landing gear issues. Would love to know.

  • Private Johnson

    I’ve flown Frontier dozens of times and have always had a great experience with their pilots and flight crews. I’m not surprised the decision to buy the pizzas came from them, rather than Frontier management. Whenever I hear anti-union rhetoric, I keep these men & women in mind. They remain 100% professional and committed to the passenger experience while management downgrades every other aspect of the airline. I’m sure the bureaucrats would love to replace these folks with underpaid drones who could neither afford 50 pizzas nor be willing to rock the boat in that way even if they could.

    • Nick

      What makes you think being Union makes them better? You want proof of what a union does to workers? Go to South Carolina and tour a Toyota manufacturing plant. Then go to Michigan and tour a GM manufacturing plant. You will see the difference between union employees and non-union and it’s quite the opposite of what you think.

    • Jonathon Barton (@jonathonbarton)

      …he would have flown approximately 300 miles, encountered a problem with the plane, and landed safely at his choice of airports, Knoxville, Asheville, Greenville, Charlotte, or Winston Salem – All within ~100 miles of where he would have encountered the problem, and under complete radar coverage.

      *sigh*

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