The captain of an American Airlines flight comes out into the cabin – into economy, no less – to talk to passengers about their flight delay. He explains what happened, that the aircraft had arrived late from Puerto Vallarta, and he offered that they planned to make up a few minutes in the air if they could. He even offered to take passenger questions.
He could have made the same announcement from the cockpit. Hearing from the captain carries more weight than hearing from cabin crew. But hearing from the captain in person shows that someone in authority (of the aircraft) cares and respects you and your time. That diffuses the tensions in the cabin.
But talking to passengers in person isn’t all that the captain did.
I have traveled a lot but this has never happened. The captain himself comes face to face to tell why we are late and of course apologized. Also promised to provide free drinks on the @AmericanAir bill. This is customer service. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/gSLyy9wFlq
— Sami Muhonen (@samimuho) May 21, 2023
This American Airlines captain offered to “provide free drinks” on the airline. I’ve heard of pilots ordering pizza during a long delay, and that turns around the mood of an aircraft. But it sounds like they wouldn’t be on board on the ground long enough. (Small kindnesses go a long way. And because who doesn’t love pizza?) Instead the captain made a different gesture, according to a passenger on the flight: booze.
Now, a decision to order pizza to a plane is entirely driven by the captain of the aircraft. There’s no formal “airline pizza policy,” but pilots can actually get reimbursed by the carrier when they do something like this. This isn’t something they ask permission for, and they do sometimes just come out of pocket without filing for an expense reimbursement (in which case the airline might not even know about it). Then again, you probably don’t like your employer’s expense reimbursement process, either! Here the captain doesn’t need to buy pizza, just offer what’s already been loaded onto the galley carts.