American Airlines Orders Pizza For Hundreds Of Afghan Refugees Stuck On Plane

Many Afghans were evacuated on military flights, as quickly as possible, without regard to paperwork. Visas might have been in processing at the U.S. embassy there – and documents destroyed to prevent the Taliban from taking possession of them – a sensible security procedure, though the U.S. then provided the Taliban with names of Americans and Afghan allies they wanted to evacuate anyway.

From Kabul, refugees were sent to military bases in Qatar and Germany, and from there they’re being flown to Washington Dulles on U.S. airlines paid for charter flights under the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program. Each person is vetted prior to boarding a flight, and then goes through immigration formalities again in the U.S.

But without documents, there’s been huge bureaucratic delays at Washington Dulles with people waiting 8-12 hours to get off of planes. Flight attendants have been told to pack their own water and anticipate harrowing conditions.

Perhaps oddly American Airlines is promoting their deep experience diverting flights to Washington Dulles and handling irregular operations there.

As a sister airport to American’s hub at Reagan National Airport (DCA), IAD is a common location for diverting aircraft during inclement weather, which is why the airline’s team there has developed something of a specialty in managing irregular operations and other one-of-a-kind circumstances.

They brought in employees from BWI airport and Washington National as well, and they wound up ordering pizza for at least one of the planes waiting interminably on the tarmac.

In addition to the familiar duties associated with operating a safe and successful flight, American’s IAD team proved its reputation for delivering on the fly by making a run for pizza to feed hundreds of passengers on one of the rescue flights, as well as the team members taking care of them.

Camille told her team about her phone call with the pizza place, saying, “You heard him scream into the back, ‘Y’all, we’ve got a big one! American Airlines!’”

Credit: American Airlines

The American planes are also provisioned “with everything from pajamas and wash cloths to diapers and teddy bears for children.”

Credit: American Airlines

Now the question is this: who gets the lie flat business class seats, and who winds up in coach?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Once in a while a bit of good news and common human decency. I just hope they didn’t order (pork) sausage for the Muslim refugees.

  2. So cheap ass D0ugie will feed refugees pizzas but not his paying customers a meal in F/J worth a damn. Got it.

  3. IIHC, they ordered cheese and/or vegetarian pizzas, perhaps among other ones specifically asked for by crew.

  4. Do they have cater the plane with booze? I wonder if the meat on the pizza was pork-free.

  5. I was at IAD last night. Don’t be fooled. No one is being properly “vetted.” I’ve been waiting for a passport renewal for 14 weeks. Don’t tell me these people without any documentation been vetted in an hour or two.

    They are looking for volunteers to help translate – for the “ translators.”? Again, we have no idea who they are or what their role was in helping the USA. I’m happy for the fortunate few who escaped but for Pete’s sake, open you eyes, ask a question or two. Don’t just spout hat you read in the Washington Post. It’s not true.

  6. Sorry but the best we can do is a Biscoff (which is 30% smaller than a year ago) and cup of water for your 6 hour transcon.
    Now wear you mask, shut up and don’t ask us for anything or you’ll be arrested upon landing.

    “Because great is what we’re going for”

  7. Gary, respectfully, I’d suggest to add “supposedly” into this sentence:

    “Each person is vetted prior to boarding a flight, and then goes through immigration formalities again in the U.S”

    I have to agree that it’s absurd to think these refugees can be “vetted” in a few hours (unless they do have something on them already such as biometrics, which isn’t the case for most of them)

  8. @Mike:

    None. You do realize that AA (and all the US carriers) have a lot of slack in the widebody fleet right now, due to the fact that international flying has been cut way back.

  9. Like with illegal NWs, corporate America and the government are bending over backward to import a parasitic group which can only harm western civilization. We have legitimate tourists and citizens persecuted and abused by TSA and customs. We have Christians arrested for going to church or citizens arrested for opening their business during Covid. We have people arrested for speech in Europe. We have the war on drugs that says government owns our bodies. We have citizens delayed 4 months in receiving their new passports. However, pizzas are ordered for afghanis, free housing is given to them, Covid restrictions are ignored, and they are waived right through immigration and customs. This happens while we have citizens stuck in foreign countries and detained for draconian Covid rules.

    Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia or China take these afghanis? They are rich countries. The west is already full.

  10. @Jackson – since the US is nearly a minority majority country, you should probably pack up, leave NYC, and move to Hungary perhaps. You would love living in a dictatorship.

  11. @ Jackson — Remind me, to which hate-filled branch of Christianity do you belong? It is very sad to see Christianity turned into an excuse for hatred. Jesus would not act this way.

  12. @gene Jesus would probably also frown on handing a kill list of US Citizens and Afghan allies to the people who have been killing us for the last couple of decades but hey tomato tomato

  13. @ MYSELF — OK, well that didn’t happen, but keep on watching Fox News. Every clock is right at least twice per day.

  14. Interesting. AA’s PR pimps probably figured there was no downside to publicizing the purchase of pizzas for hungry Afghans, and giving them COSTCO diapers and baby wipes. I hope they don’t read this post and comments on it, it will ruin their day.
    I happen to find agreement with many of the comments, but other than that, for once, I am keeping my trap shut.

  15. I am a fan of this. Good on American for showing up with supplies, too. They prepared these planes with provisions fit for people who have left their country with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

    No need to have a negative attitude about how AA caters F/J for regular PAX as a result of covid-19. No need to bring racism or xenophobia in to the discussion.

    Never been more proud to see AMERICAN Airlines representing United States.

  16. @Jackass Waterson back to his KKK rant. Did you appreciate the help these people gave your military? Or since you Trumpers hate losers, we don’t care about the military in this “war”?

  17. In response to the claims from the stir-the-pot Trump fans rjb and Dude26:

    Nearly all or all of these arriving Afghans have had a current or former US military officer, intelligence officer, or other US government official having vouched for each individual or at least one individual in any identifying family group that was approved to board these flights to IAD.

    I welcome these at-risk persons to the US, with or without some of them having currently valid Afghan passports. With or without currently valid Afghan passports, they are subject to biometric identification measures and those biometrics are continuously being run against the database of identifying information for identified terrorist threats captured during the course of US and allied operations in Afghanistan and other theaters of operation.

    Too bad we didn’t weed out Trump from being President, as he has been the greatest threat inside the US in our lifetime. And no amount of vetting worked against that great threat.

  18. @Bob. From my count AA only has 110 wide body aircraft (777,787), the remaining are retired or gone. For a major airline with over 800 aircraft it is a paltry figure.

  19. Jackson Waterson – how Christian of you. These Afghans have done more to protect Americans than you ever did. Without a doubt, I would greatly prefer to have one of these newly-arrived Afghan families live next door to me than have you.

  20. Why do u permit allowing bigoted hateful trolls like Jackson Waterston a platform to spew such hate. This site has attracted some bigots and hateful people who lack compassion and treat people like garbage. So sad u have allowed your site to become a dump site for Trump’s racist trolls

  21. People should read the original linked AA press statement.

    It is principally about the role of AA staff who have volunteered to support these fights.

    Thank goodness there are at least some decent and caring Americans out there, most of the posters herein should hang their heads in shame. These people helped you Americans in a 20-year military campaign.

    @ Gary

    Of course, your version of the AA statement completely fails to mention the core intent of the original – it was about the volunteers. No wonder, then, you find the AA statement to be “odd”. Why shouldn’t the airline celebrate and acknowledge the efforts of its staff?

    It is also not surprising that by adding your bias you incite the racist trolls.

    By failing to moderate the commentary herein, or even challenge the hatred and ignorance by counter comment, you are showing yourself to be an enabler.

  22. @David

    I don’t see how the U.S. military occupying and bombing Afghanistan for 20 years and having Afghanis help them has protected Americans for one second.

    Being Christian doesn’t mean we have to flagellate ourselves with toxic groups we know are cancer. We are commanded to prioritize our own. That’s what we should do. Shame on you for undermining that.

  23. @Jackass Waterson:

    When reading your own posts, it doesn’t hit you that christianity is just as bad as every other religion and your own posts acknowledge the weakness of the republican party. You should take the deep plunge and see that religion, any and all, are a farce and there to control only. That is evident as you see the history of the christian religion.

  24. This is all part of and similar to the……human smuggling operation…. the Byden administration is doing on our southern borders.
    Destroy the country from within.
    Shipping Fentanyl from CCP to New England helped also.

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