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On Thursday. September 6, American Airlines flight 2354 from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) diverted to Wichita Falls Regional Airport (SPS) due to inclement weather.
This would usually be a non-story except there were two things that stood out to me: 1) Wichita Falls is my home (for the moment) so it was cool to see it make national headlines for something positive, and even cooler, 2) the captain, Jeff Raines, bought 40 pizzas for the 159 passengers.
Per CNN, the captain lauded his crew and the SPS staff for the handling of the unscheduled diversion. He stated:
“My First Officer was on the telephone with crew tracking / hotel desk arranging for our release and hotels for the entire crew. The Flight Attendants manned a galley cart from the aircraft serving waters, juice, and sodas to all the passengers in the terminal. All while the Envoy SPS Personnel were arranging for a bus, re-booking flights, and answering a flurry of questions from these passengers. Thanks to everyone for your help – there is no “I” in TEAM.”
This is the exact way to handle a flight diversion. The crew and ground staff ensured that the passengers were taken care of during the delay. The good news is that the aircraft was able to make the 25 minute flight to Dallas this morning.