Flight delays stink. Especially when they occur around meal times. But one United Express/MESA captain went above and beyond the call of duty during a prolonged flight delay.
A mechanical issued delayed a United Express flight from Tulsa (TUL) to Houston (IAH) on March 11th. When a flight attendant approached Captain Matthew Hoshor stating she was hungry, Hoshor figured that everyone on the flight must be hungry.
So he sprung into action. Hoshor got on the intercom and said, “I’m sorry for the delay, but I think I can make it better. I just have one question: cheese or no cheese?”
The plane erupted into applause.
The hamburgers arrived and FAs delivered them with a choice of beverage.
One passenger asked why Hoshor would do this (out of his own pocket). Hoshor responded:
You’re not just passengers, you’re people.
He later added:
Some people online said I only did this because I felt guilty, but that wasn’t it. I just wanted to do the right thing.
As canned as that response seems, isn’t it refreshing to hear that from a pilot? When Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein heard about the incident, he offered to pay Hoshor back, but Hoshor politely declined. What a class act! Hoshor is also a reservist chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. There, he counsels men and women struggling with battlefield trauma.
We’re currently 2.5 hours into a delay leaving Tulsa on @united and our Captain, Matthew just ordered every single person on the plane lunch from Fat Guys Burger Bar. Good people and customer service do still exist! #UA6329 pic.twitter.com/2raUykf4JT
— Flier of things. (@samrwalker) March 11, 2019
The flight eventually landed in Houston five hours and three minutes late, but at least passengers had a full stomach.
The United Express (and entire United) brand was greatly damaged by the David Dao incident. But small gestures of kindness like this can win back the hearts and minds of customers. Delays are always unfortunate, especially when they are mechanical in nature and somewhat in the control of the airline. But keeping customers updated and their stomachs full helps to mitigate the frustration of any delays. Airlines should take note…this sort of thing should be the standard, not the exception.
And want to know the funny thing? Hoshor is a vegetarian!
The funny thing is, I’m a vegetarian. But hamburgers are all they had in Tulsa, so I just went with it.