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Lakelad

Who wants pizza?': WestJet pilot buys food for stranded AC passengers

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Who wants pizza?': WestJet pilot buys food for stranded Air Canada passengers

Air Canada employee tells customers that no food was available at midnight

Mon Feb 13, 2017 - CBC News
By Stephanie Kinsella

A WestJet pilot is earning high praise after paying for pizza for passengers that got rerouted while travelling to St. John's — on an Air Canada flight.

"There was outwards applause when it happened," said John Samms, who lives in St. John's.

The Air Canada plane that had originated in Toronto couldn't land in St. John's on Feb. 8 due to bad weather and ended up landing in Fredericton.

Samms said passengers were told by an Air Canada employee at the airport at midnight that it wasn't possible to get food delivered.

"Out of nowhere, a WestJet pilot emerged and said, 'Hey ... I am from WestJet and we do things differently. Who wants pizza?'" Samms told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

"Within 20 minutes to half an hour the pizza had arrived and I think he paid for it out of his own pocket."

While Samms isn't sure how many people had a slice, he said at least four extra large pizzas were delivered to the terminal.

Air Canada says sorry

Samms said it was especially surprising, since all of the passengers were travelling on a competing airline.

"That was the irritating part for me ... I had taken it as perhaps a lack of effort on Air Canada staff," said Samms, who had lived in Fredericton for a few years and knew there were at least a few pizza places open.

For its part, Air Canada is apologizing to customers, and acknowledging the efforts of the WestJet employee.

"Unfortunately the food service was closed but thankfully, a caring customer, an airline employee himself, so truly empathetic to the situation, stepped up," Air Canada said in a statement provided to CBC News.

"Clearly we should have done better for our customers."

Samms said no airline is perfect all the time, but people remember when staff go out of their way.

"A little bit of effort can go a long way when it comes to customer service," he said.

CBC News asked WestJet for comment and the mystery pilot's name, but had not heard from that airline as of Monday.

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Edited by Lakelad
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Maybe the new uniforms will help inspire the troops. :)

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1 minute ago, blues deville said:

Maybe the new uniforms will help inspire the troops. :)

The way I read the posts, it is not due to lack of inspiration but rather a lack of being allowed to make decisions at the worker level.  Back in the day, my staff were allowed to make customer service decisions with the only caeat  being, if their decision was wrong we would discuss it so as to determine what the best course of action would be in future. Worked very well for all of us and most importantly for our customers.

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6 minutes ago, Malcolm said:

The way I read the posts, it is not due to lack of inspiration but rather a lack of being allowed to make decisions at the worker level.  Back in the day, my staff were allowed to make customer service decisions with the only caeat  being, if their decision was wrong we would discuss it so as to determine what the best course of action would be in future. Worked very well for all of us and most importantly for our customers.

Doesn't every station/base manager have some kind of IROPs fund to deal with these events? Especially a diverted aircraft. 

Times have charged Malcolm. Earlier in Feb I flew AC from YVR to YYZ. 777 2pm departure. Arrived at the gate with time to spare only to find it delayed 35 mins. Not a problem. Eventually it was a 1h10m delay and the reason from the gate agent over the PA was "not enough groomers to clean the plane". There were probably 4 or 5 gate agents handling this flight and the entire flight/cabin crew hanging out behind them. Even two ramp guys waiting to roll wheelchair pax. Once upon a time they all would have jumped onboard to help tidy it up. I have feeling the Westjet "pizza pilot" would have been in there collecting newspapers and folding seat belts. 

Edited by blues deville
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3 hours ago, boestar said:

Many moons ago AC had a Program for Customer Care that empowered the front line employee to make decisions to better serve the customer.  Unfortunately that program was scrapped.  I find there is too much of this "We Can't" instead of "I will do whatever I can".

There is a cost to it but repeat business pays for that cost in the long run.

 

Even when "empowered" there is still the element of fear that mere common sense or decency is no defense in the face of a supervisor or auditor trying to justify their continued employment.

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The whole point of the program was that the frontline employee make the call

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That WJ pilot should be promoted, or receive some sort of meaningful bonus.

WJ now has the theme in hand for this years feel-good Christmas commercial.

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Word is it wasn't the way the story portrays it... and the whole swoop in 'this is how westjet does it' is outright made up.

Good job on the AC crew making the safe choice to an uneventful diversion in the middle of the night at the end of a long duty day in poor weather. I understand AC staff were busy answering questions, booking new flights and getting everyone's accommodations looked after for the night.

Nice of a fellow industry professional to order in a few pizzas while AC staff were sorting other things out... 

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2 hours ago, blues deville said:

Doesn't every station/base manager have some kind of IROPs fund to deal with these events? Especially a diverted aircraft. 

Times have charged Malcolm. Earlier in Feb I flew AC from YVR to YYZ. 777 2pm departure. Arrived at the gate with time to spare only to find it delayed 35 mins. Not a problem. Eventually it was a 1h10m delay and the reason from the gate agent over the PA was "not enough groomers to clean the plane". There were probably 4 or 5 gate agents handling this flight and the entire flight/cabin crew hanging out behind them. Even two ramp guys waiting to roll wheelchair pax. Once upon a time they all would have jumped onboard to help tidy it up. I have feeling the Westjet "pizza pilot" would have been in there collecting newspapers and folding seat belts. 

Probably more of a union issue with one member not wanting to take work from another member.

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The irony is that that WestJet pilot was probably on the AC flight because his own airline had cancelled all their flights into YYT. I commute out of YYT and WestJet has had a disastrous winter here from a PR perspective making blanket cancellations based on forecast sometimes more than 24hrs out(And I'm not talking about days like today where the entire airport is shutdown).

Ever since the runway overrun in YOW a couple of years ago they seem overly cautious while AC continues to operate without so much as a "landing subject" on the flight.  YYT is never an easy place to operate into but they are really over the top this winter

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No name but photo of Pizza Pilot and a photo of a pizza in Toronto Star

ScreenShot001.jpg.5fbff1ca94ae895638d6f2b4e9de9441.jpg

 

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Or Air Canada could acknowledge the 'airline' and say 'Thank you WestJet!' In my opinion it would have been classier to do so than just refer to 'the other airline' 

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Thank you Westjet? What did Westjet do?

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Isn't there a protocol that free riders like that Westjet pilot should not bite the hand that feeds them, so to speak? A thank you for AC bringing him home or to work would have been appropriate.

Edited by dagger
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12 minutes ago, dagger said:

Isn't there a protocol that free riders like that Westjet pilot should not bite the hand that feeds them, so to speak? A thank you for AC bringing him home or to work would have been appropriate.

I don't think the WestJet pilot has bitten the hand that feeds him.  He is likely entirely uninvolved in the media coverage of this situation and probably has sought no recognition for his "sin"; his only sin being having fed his fellow guests.  And while the news coverage of the event makes no mentioned it, he may well have thanked AC for bringing him home.  That his gratitude isn't mentioned doesn't mean it doesn't exist or wasn't expressed.

I think this is a story because some passengers decided to make it a story, and the media picked it up and ran with it because it's easy journalism to turn a tweet into a story.  I'm fairly sure this WestJet pilot had no motive other than to help.  To suggest that "free riders" sit on their hands in future IROP events, I don't think would be constructive.

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8 hours ago, Kip Powick said:

No name but photo of Pizza Pilot and a photo of a pizza in Toronto Star

ScreenShot001.jpg.5fbff1ca94ae895638d6f2b4e9de9441.jpg

 

What is the Star's reason for posting this photo and without a name? Is this a passenger's cell phone shot that has made its way to their newspaper? If the the Star wants to know how well Westjet deals with maritime weather please let me know. I have a story and photos. 

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5 hours ago, blues deville said:

What is the Star's reason for posting this photo and without a name? Is this a passenger's cell phone shot that has made its way to their newspaper? If the the Star wants to know how well Westjet deals with maritime weather please let me know. I have a story and photos. 

You quoted my post so are you asking me...?...and if so, how would I know ? :huh::) 

Here is the link if you want to query them.:D

https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/02/15/westjet-pilot-buys-pizza-for-stranded-air-canada-passengers-in-fredericton.html

ahhhhh, on second thought I think you are being obliquely sarcastic....I understand the weather reference now...:lol:

Edited by Kip Powick
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2 hours ago, Kip Powick said:

You quoted my post so are you asking me...?...and if so, how would I know ? :huh::) 

Here is the link if you want to query them.:D

https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/02/15/westjet-pilot-buys-pizza-for-stranded-air-canada-passengers-in-fredericton.html

ahhhhh, on second thought I think you are being obliquely sarcastic....I understand the weather reference now...:lol:

My post was a just a general "what" and not directed solely at you. :)

But I see from your link that "Pizza Pilot" is now being refered to as a legend. I hope every delayed Westjet flight now comes with unlimited slices. 

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Regarding "Jumpseat" use, I still find it hard to understand why any airline would let a crew member from a competing airline  ride for free which only helps out their competitor, full fare would be the way to go.  I see there was quite a discussion on this back in 2009.

 

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14 minutes ago, blues deville said:

My post was a just a general "what" and not directed solely at you. :)

But I see from your link that "Pizza Pilot" is now being refered to as a legend. I hope every delayed Westjet flight now comes with unlimited slices. 

You meant every delayed Air Canada flight would come with WestJet pizza, right? 

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6 minutes ago, Maverick said:

You meant every delayed Air Canada flight would come with WestJet pizza, right? 

Ha ha. Sounds like it's going to be "poutine". :)

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47 minutes ago, Malcolm said:

Regarding "Jumpseat" use, I still find it hard to understand why any airline would let a crew member from a competing airline  ride for free which only helps out their competitor, full fare would be the way to go.  I see there was quite a discussion on this back in 2009.

 

The 'jumpseat'  (or the seat in the cabin in lieu of) is the captain's - the advantage isn't to the competing airline, but to the individual - it's a courtesy between professionals. 

With reciprocity the advantage and courtesy goes both ways. 

We have seen an erosion of this in recent years through Government and Corporate policies, but we can't forget whose seat it is and who decides who goes there.

Unfortunately I also think we've seen erosion of this through individual grudges and attitudes. I've seen levels of animosity and snark from fellow professionals increase in recent years between competing carriers... Seems we ought to remember that we all came from a similar cut of cloth to get to one seat or the other, and we need protect the profession through some mutual respect.

Corking one another is poor form. 

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J.K. In the good old days that was the case (when pilots were a "band of brothers" )but in today's world I am surprised that anything on the aircraft is "the captain's". :D

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