US Airways hosts pizza party for 130 in Abilene!

 
Old Oct 27, 13, 2:22 pm
  #1  
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US Airways hosts pizza party for 130 in Abilene!

So... yesterday was just one of those days.

I was booked into first class on US546 from PHL to DFW... scheduled to depart 3:45 p.m. and arrive DFW at 6:25 p.m. It had been a long week... and I was truly exhausted. I had finished up the week in rural Virginia and arisen early to drive to SBY (Salisbury, MD) to catch a short hop to Philly.

I eagerly staked out my place near the podium and was the first to bound right up when the gate agent called for first class boarding, etc.-- I literally couldn't wait to collapse into my seat. Two seconds after my boarding pass being scanned, I saw the pilot sprinting towards me with a pained look on his face--- "stop boarding, we've got a mechanical problem" he said. Departure was pushed back to 4:30, and I pushed back to Chickie's & Pete's for a martini.

Back at 4:30... and no new news. We waited roughly another half hour. As 5:00 neared... the agent started rebooking folks onto the 6:05 p.m. departure to DFW, US1765, scheduled to depart at 6:05 p.m. and arrive DFW at 8:50 pm. I checked 1765's seat map, there were two open first class seats....

Stupidly, I chose to gamble with the existing flight... thinking first class on my flight would be more pleasant (and I might even have a free adjacent seat) as impatient travelers jumped for the other flight, while I remained "loyal" to the original plane, once it was fixed. Who knows, I might even be rewarded, somehow, for my loyalty. Alas, it was not to be.... 2 minutes after the last first class seat on 1765 was swiped, 546 cancelled. I had gambled and lost. Back to Chickie's & Pete's to brood on my poor choices and drown my sorrows... what other poor choices had I made in my life (besides having 2 martinis, alone, before 6 p.m. for no good reason)? Should I just give up and head to some gloomy airport hotel and come back, tomorrow, or what?? Midway through my drink, I checked my reservation on my iPad and saw that US had proactively re-accommodated me in seat 5D on the 6:05 p.m. departure... ehhh.... not too bad, I guess. But I knew it was going to be a full house. (I also realized that my iPad battery was well under 50% charged... but that should be sufficient to DFW.)

I took advantage of Zone 1 boarding, stowed my stuff, and waited... and waited. It took awhile to pack the plane full, and we ended off taking off well behind schedule (6:44 p.m., according to Flightaware). We seemed to taxi forever... not sure how, PHL isn't exactly that big. While we waited, I listed to the woman seated in the window seat swear loudly: "I'm NEVER flying this airline again," etc., etc. Once the captain explained we were #11 for takeoff, she said: "Why are they doing this to us!!! We're the black sheep!!! They're playing with us!!!" etc., etc. Like me, she had been booked on the earlier flight and was convinced that her misfortune was part of some sort of conspiracy on the part of US Airways--- targeted at her, I guess.

The foreign gentleman in the middle seat just rubbed his forehead--- he didn't speak much English.

The flight passed uneventfully.... I angrily watched the guy in 4C eat what should have been my dinner, drink what should have been my drink, and eat what should have been my cheesecake. The folks in first class were laughing.... were they laughing at my misfortune??? Perhaps.

I contented myself with buying a glass of cabernet sauvignon and some multi-grain chips from the FAs. I was tempted to explain that I don't usually have to pay for that stuff... that I was supposed to be in first class, etc. At the end, I let it pass. Admitting that would have required admitting that I let myself be outfoxed by stupidly standing by the earlier flight that ultimately betrayed me, and I would have come across as weak, rather than someone to be envied.

Oh well, at least I had my iPad. For the next couple of hours, I contented myself with reading all sorts of stuff-- improving myself. Certainly not wasting time playing Bejeweled over and over again like the girl across the aisle... with whom I kept trying to make knowing eye contact.

Anyway... as we began to approach Texas, my iPad gave out. Should have charged the battery... but I had those martinis to attend to back in Philly. Besides, we were almost home... finally. A few minutes later, I noticed the aircraft starting to make pitch and power changes--- yep, we'll be home soon!

I settled back into my seat and closed my eyes. A few minutes later, my slumber was broken by the captain, over the intercom... and he didn't sound happy. Then he started speaking... uh-oh, this isn't the canned pre-arrival thank you speech. Had he, too, been forced to start shilling for the US Airways credit cards with bonus miles??? Nope, it was worse--- we were circling somewhere over southeastern Oklahoma... DFW was closed with big storms, and more storms were on the way!!

I reached for my iPad... if I could get a sight on the radar maps, personally, this would make me feel a lot better! Who knows, maybe I could offer the pilot some helpful pointers around the clouds... At least I could confidently provide deep insight into our situation to my fellow passengers and the flight attendants. And they would be very appreciative! Maybe the girl across the aisle would want to invite me for drinks afterwards! But no.... the iPad battery was drained... I was just as clueless as everyone else. Worse, the guy sitting next to the girl across the aisle DID have access to radar maps, but on his smartphone. Still, the girl was leaning in close to see what they showed and listen to his advice. That should have been ME with the information. Instead, I had nothing.... no game.

So... anyway, this airborne version of Chinese water torture continues for the next hour. I consulted the US Airways destination map... where else might be land. Hmmm.... the only remotely close destination served by US Airways in these parts was Little Rock. Not good. I nodded off....

About an hour later, the pilot came back on. His voice was subdued. The storms were continuing, more were on the way, we were running low on fuel. So... we were headed to..... ABILENE! Oddly, this kind of intrigued me, as I wanted to see how the refueling operation, etc. would work at an airport that lacked any US Airways presence. A half hour later, I got to find out.

As we began our approach to landing, the lady in the window seat starting banging her head against the window... moaning, and cursing her bad fortune. The foreign gentleman next me starting getting nervous and asking me questions: "Excuse me, sir, are we now landing Dallas?" Uh, no... we're going to Abilene. "What is Abilene? Are we in Texas? What is happening?" Big storms. Look out the window at the lightning to the left. "This never happens in Newark! Only with the Sandy storm."

Once we landed (10:13 local time, 11:13 EDT), we taxied to the an area near the terminal.... a few American Eagle planes were parked there, and some of them looked like they contained passengers. This would be unusual at that time of night (heck it would be unusual in Abilene at any time- the entire airport only accommodates 8 commercial flights per day, all commuters)... so I assumed they were waiting out the storm as well.

After a few fits and starts taxiing, it seems like we got situated where the refueler (an FBO?) wanted us. It then took them some time to rustle up some airstairs, at which point a burly ground handling guy came on board to assess the situation. I hoped US Airways credit was good, but I thought I saw the pilot hand over a credit card to him.... hmmm.... Everyone seemed pretty beaten down at this point. Many of the passengers had expected to be in Dallas roughly four hours earlier (in time for dinner) and hadn't planned for this adventure. People were standing in the aisles, the mood was gloomy.

About five minutes later, a guy one row up suddenly became excited.... "PIZZA!!!" Wait, what???? At first, the reaction in economy was subdued. Yes, it did appear that pizza had arrived... but for whom? The pilots, the FAs, first class? We were cautious. However, as more boxes kept arriving, the mood became more optimistic. Suddenly, the FA's voice came over the PA.... "attention, if everyone could be seated, we will commence our delivery of Domino's Pizza!!" The mood brightened immediately.... everyone sat back down and lowered their tray tables expectantly. Everyone got a slice of pizza, and everyone was happy. Instead of moaning about the delay, we were having fun. A round of water came next. All of this pizza serving, eating, and trash collecting kept everyone occupied and almost no one seemed to notice that we ending up spending over and hour and a half sitting on the ground. (we landed at 10:13 p.m. and departed at 11:53 pm).

By 12:30 a.m., we were finally at DFW. For me, it was only about 6 1/2 hours later than I had planned, but all in all, a fun day.

Here are the links to our flight tracks:

PHL-ABI: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/A...205Z/KPHL/KDFW

ABI-DFW: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/A...340Z/KABI/KDFW
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Old Oct 27, 13, 2:35 pm
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Great post. Great post. And great attitude, too. You're an example for the rest of us!
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Old Oct 27, 13, 2:38 pm
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Please let US know how their customer service gesture took a lot of the sting out of an otherwise crappy travel day. There should be more stories like this! And a couple hundred dollars' worth of pizza has probably bought them some new customer loyalty (plus, it's just the right thing to do).
Good on you for keeping your cool, btw !
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Old Oct 27, 13, 2:46 pm
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Originally Posted by dcpatti View Post
Please let US know how their customer service gesture took a lot of the sting out of an otherwise crappy travel day. There should be more stories like this! And a couple hundred dollars' worth of pizza has probably bought them some new customer loyalty (plus, it's just the right thing to do).
Good on you for keeping your cool, btw !
I just did.... I'm thinking the pilot would have had to have ordered this immediately after deciding to divert to Abilene. It would have taken quite a while to bake 20+ pizzas and have them delivered to the airport and aircraft still warm.

The closest Domino's Pizza is five miles from the airport.
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Old Oct 27, 13, 3:00 pm
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US Airways hosts pizza party for 130 in Abilene!

And kudos for not asking for the c-word :P
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Old Oct 27, 13, 4:20 pm
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Great write up! Those situations are always frustrating to everyone, glad most kept their cool and USAirways (or the pilot?) did something thoughtful for everyone. After being on a delayed flight recently with a woman returning home from a deployment it gave me a lot of perspective and I stopped whining about getting a couple less hours of sleep before a work event!
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Old Oct 27, 13, 4:58 pm
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Yikes. Detail overload. I read the first and last paragraph. As my high school writing teacher said '''get to the point."
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Old Oct 27, 13, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by TPA us ff View Post
Yikes. Detail overload. I read the first and last paragraph. As my high school writing teacher said '''get to the point."
Lol... I know. Sat down in the kitchen to write a few words and it just kind of mushroomed. I thought about editing, but just lazily hit the "submit reply" button, instead.

Also, I was trying to convey the whole context of the experience.
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Old Oct 27, 13, 5:42 pm
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Now THAT'S'so worth a pile of A+B's!!

Imagine the reaction of the Domino's person answering the phone - probably priceless in its own right
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Old Oct 27, 13, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by HKG_Flyer1 View Post
So... yesterday was just one of those days.

I was booked into first class on US546 from PHL to DFW... scheduled to depart 3:45 p.m. and arrive DFW at 6:25 p.m. It had been a long week... and I was truly exhausted. I had finished up the week in rural Virginia and arisen early to drive to SBY (Salisbury, MD) to catch a short hop to Philly.

I eagerly staked out my place near the podium and was the first to bound right up when the gate agent called for first class boarding, etc.-- I literally couldn't wait to collapse into my seat. Two seconds after my boarding pass being scanned, I saw the pilot sprinting towards me with a pained look on his face--- "stop boarding, we've got a mechanical problem" he said. Departure was pushed back to 4:30, and I pushed back to Chickie's & Pete's for a martini.

Back at 4:30... and no new news. We waited roughly another half hour. As 5:00 neared... the agent started rebooking folks onto the 6:05 p.m. departure to DFW, US1765, scheduled to depart at 6:05 p.m. and arrive DFW at 8:50 pm. I checked 1765's seat map, there were two open first class seats....

Stupidly, I chose to gamble with the existing flight... thinking first class on my flight would be more pleasant (and I might even have a free adjacent seat) as impatient travelers jumped for the other flight, while I remained "loyal" to the original plane, once it was fixed. Who knows, I might even be rewarded, somehow, for my loyalty. Alas, it was not to be.... 2 minutes after the last first class seat on 1765 was swiped, 546 cancelled. I had gambled and lost. Back to Chickie's & Pete's to brood on my poor choices and drown my sorrows... what other poor choices had I made in my life (besides having 2 martinis, alone, before 6 p.m. for no good reason)? Should I just give up and head to some gloomy airport hotel and come back, tomorrow, or what?? Midway through my drink, I checked my reservation on my iPad and saw that US had proactively re-accommodated me in seat 5D on the 6:05 p.m. departure... ehhh.... not too bad, I guess. But I knew it was going to be a full house. (I also realized that my iPad battery was well under 50% charged... but that should be sufficient to DFW.)

I took advantage of Zone 1 boarding, stowed my stuff, and waited... and waited. It took awhile to pack the plane full, and we ended off taking off well behind schedule (6:44 p.m., according to Flightaware). We seemed to taxi forever... not sure how, PHL isn't exactly that big. While we waited, I listed to the woman seated in the window seat swear loudly: "I'm NEVER flying this airline again," etc., etc. Once the captain explained we were #11 for takeoff, she said: "Why are they doing this to us!!! We're the black sheep!!! They're playing with us!!!" etc., etc. Like me, she had been booked on the earlier flight and was convinced that her misfortune was part of some sort of conspiracy on the part of US Airways--- targeted at her, I guess.

The foreign gentleman in the middle seat just rubbed his forehead--- he didn't speak much English.

The flight passed uneventfully.... I angrily watched the guy in 4C eat what should have been my dinner, drink what should have been my drink, and eat what should have been my cheesecake. The folks in first class were laughing.... were they laughing at my misfortune??? Perhaps.

I contented myself with buying a glass of cabernet sauvignon and some multi-grain chips from the FAs. I was tempted to explain that I don't usually have to pay for that stuff... that I was supposed to be in first class, etc. At the end, I let it pass. Admitting that would have required admitting that I let myself be outfoxed by stupidly standing by the earlier flight that ultimately betrayed me, and I would have come across as weak, rather than someone to be envied.

Oh well, at least I had my iPad. For the next couple of hours, I contented myself with reading all sorts of stuff-- improving myself. Certainly not wasting time playing Bejeweled over and over again like the girl across the aisle... with whom I kept trying to make knowing eye contact.

Anyway... as we began to approach Texas, my iPad gave out. Should have charged the battery... but I had those martinis to attend to back in Philly. Besides, we were almost home... finally. A few minutes later, I noticed the aircraft starting to make pitch and power changes--- yep, we'll be home soon!

I settled back into my seat and closed my eyes. A few minutes later, my slumber was broken by the captain, over the intercom... and he didn't sound happy. Then he started speaking... uh-oh, this isn't the canned pre-arrival thank you speech. Had he, too, been forced to start shilling for the US Airways credit cards with bonus miles??? Nope, it was worse--- we were circling somewhere over southeastern Oklahoma... DFW was closed with big storms, and more storms were on the way!!

I reached for my iPad... if I could get a sight on the radar maps, personally, this would make me feel a lot better! Who knows, maybe I could offer the pilot some helpful pointers around the clouds... At least I could confidently provide deep insight into our situation to my fellow passengers and the flight attendants. And they would be very appreciative! Maybe the girl across the aisle would want to invite me for drinks afterwards! But no.... the iPad battery was drained... I was just as clueless as everyone else. Worse, the guy sitting next to the girl across the aisle DID have access to radar maps, but on his smartphone. Still, the girl was leaning in close to see what they showed and listen to his advice. That should have been ME with the information. Instead, I had nothing.... no game.

So... anyway, this airborne version of Chinese water torture continues for the next hour. I consulted the US Airways destination map... where else might be land. Hmmm.... the only remotely close destination served by US Airways in these parts was Little Rock. Not good. I nodded off....

About an hour later, the pilot came back on. His voice was subdued. The storms were continuing, more were on the way, we were running low on fuel. So... we were headed to..... ABILENE! Oddly, this kind of intrigued me, as I wanted to see how the refueling operation, etc. would work at an airport that lacked any US Airways presence. A half hour later, I got to find out.

As we began our approach to landing, the lady in the window seat starting banging her head against the window... moaning, and cursing her bad fortune. The foreign gentleman next me starting getting nervous and asking me questions: "Excuse me, sir, are we now landing Dallas?" Uh, no... we're going to Abilene. "What is Abilene? Are we in Texas? What is happening?" Big storms. Look out the window at the lightning to the left. "This never happens in Newark! Only with the Sandy storm."

Once we landed (10:13 local time, 11:13 EDT), we taxied to the an area near the terminal.... a few American Eagle planes were parked there, and some of them looked like they contained passengers. This would be unusual at that time of night (heck it would be unusual in Abilene at any time- the entire airport only accommodates 8 commercial flights per day, all commuters)... so I assumed they were waiting out the storm as well.

After a few fits and starts taxiing, it seems like we got situated where the refueler (an FBO?) wanted us. It then took them some time to rustle up some airstairs, at which point a burly ground handling guy came on board to assess the situation. I hoped US Airways credit was good, but I thought I saw the pilot hand over a credit card to him.... hmmm.... Everyone seemed pretty beaten down at this point. Many of the passengers had expected to be in Dallas roughly four hours earlier (in time for dinner) and hadn't planned for this adventure. People were standing in the aisles, the mood was gloomy.

About five minutes later, a guy one row up suddenly became excited.... "PIZZA!!!" Wait, what???? At first, the reaction in economy was subdued. Yes, it did appear that pizza had arrived... but for whom? The pilots, the FAs, first class? We were cautious. However, as more boxes kept arriving, the mood became more optimistic. Suddenly, the FA's voice came over the PA.... "attention, if everyone could be seated, we will commence our delivery of Domino's Pizza!!" The mood brightened immediately.... everyone sat back down and lowered their tray tables expectantly. Everyone got a slice of pizza, and everyone was happy. Instead of moaning about the delay, we were having fun. A round of water came next. All of this pizza serving, eating, and trash collecting kept everyone occupied and almost no one seemed to notice that we ending up spending over and hour and a half sitting on the ground. (we landed at 10:13 p.m. and departed at 11:53 pm).

By 12:30 a.m., we were finally at DFW. For me, it was only about 6 1/2 hours later than I had planned, but all in all, a fun day.

Here are the links to our flight tracks:

PHL-ABI: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/A...205Z/KPHL/KDFW

ABI-DFW: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/A...340Z/KABI/KDFW
I was on that flight, sitting in Row 4. It was indeed a looooong ordeal. I was surprised that people were quite civilized (except for a woman behind me who kept cursing at US Airways.
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Old Oct 27, 13, 7:21 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by DFWFairy View Post
I was on that flight, sitting in Row 4. It was indeed a looooong ordeal. I was surprised that people were quite civilized (except for a woman behind me who kept cursing at US Airways.
Haha... small world. The woman behind you "who kept cursing at US Airways" was is 5F, I was in 5D.
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Old Oct 27, 13, 7:33 pm
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Originally Posted by HKG_Flyer1 View Post
Lol... I know. Sat down in the kitchen to write a few words and it just kind of mushroomed. I thought about editing, but just lazily hit the "submit reply" button, instead.

Also, I was trying to convey the whole context of the experience.
I believed it was all in all enjoyable haha and very odd at that. That pilot knows how to make his pax happy
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Old Oct 27, 13, 8:53 pm
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Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the read.
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Old Oct 27, 13, 9:44 pm
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Originally Posted by HKG_Flyer1 View Post
Lol... I know. Sat down in the kitchen to write a few words and it just kind of mushroomed. I thought about editing, but just lazily hit the "submit reply" button, instead.

Also, I was trying to convey the whole context of the experience.
I actually *loved* the detail and that is a fantastic story to read! You can't just throw that one in to the "I love US Airways" thread or into a few sentences, because it wouldn't have the same impact!
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Old Oct 27, 13, 10:46 pm
  #15  
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What a GREAT story! ^ 'Get-to-the-point' my butt!

Your stream-of-consciousness writing style was very enjoyable. Perfect for the circumstances you continued to find yourself in. Thank you! I'd send you an A&B if I thought you could do anything with it.
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