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Air Canada pilot orders 23 pizzas for passengers stuck on grounded plane

The Air Canada pilot took a "stressful" situation and made it "a lot easier," according to one passenger.
(Bill Karsten)

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear captain's hats.

The pilot of an Air Canada flight that was stuck on the tarmac on Monday night tried his best to placate passengers by ordering nearly two dozen pizzas with dough from his own pocket to be delivered to the plane.

The flight, which had left from Toronto for Halifax on Monday, was forced to divert to Fredericton after the Halifax airport was briefly shuttered due to severe weather. Knowing they would be stuck for some time, as the Fredericton airport was dealing with multiple diverted flights, the Air Canada pilot phoned up a local pizzeria and placed an order for 23 pizzas to be delivered to the airport.

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"It was [a situation] that could have been very stressful,” passenger Philomena Hughes told the CBC, adding that passengers were ultimately stuck on the plane for a total of eight hours. [The pilot] made it a lot easier.”

The owner of the pizzeria, Minglers Restaurant and Pub in Oromocto, said he was happy to do it, too, despite the order being placed on a “storm night” and with only three employees at his disposal.

"I hope everybody enjoyed their pizzas," Mingler’s owner Roch Larivée told the CBC.

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After the pizzas had been delivered – which happened shortly before 8 p.m. local time, according to a passenger who shared photos from the cabin – the pilot came out to inform the cabin of the plane’s status, and he also made sure to acknowledge that the pizza delivery was the result of a group effort, coordinated by staff and other pilots aboard the flight, some of whom helped retrieve and bring the pizzas into the plane.

The aircraft reportedly seated over 150, although it’s unclear how many passengers were aboard the flight. Travelers were expected to continue to Halifax on Tuesday.

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News of the Air Canada pilot’s generous idea follows similar stories of pilots buying pizza for stranded passengers, such as the American Airlines pilot who bought Papa John’s for 159 passengers in September, or the Delta crew that ordered a bunch of pizza for passengers waiting out a rainstorm on a diverted plane.

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