Crisis averted: Delta treats passengers to pizza after emergency landing

Crisis averted: Delta treats passengers to pizza after emergency landing

Delta Airlines had quite a bit of a crisis when forced to make an emergency landing en route to Fort Lauderdale. The pilots reported engine troubles, and the aircraft filled up with smoke.


Rather than executing the usual crisis communications methods, Delta opted to appease customers by treating them to pizza.


All 89 passengers were provided with complimentary pizza as they waited to board a different flight. The primary goal, according to the airline, was not only to ensure the passengers’ safety but also make them feel more comfortable after a nerve wracking mid-flight experience.


Positive PR has become largely characterized by grand gestures and statements.  Thus, it is surprising when a company chooses to handle a troubling situation in such a simple manner.


Picture of airplane inside the cabin but foggy from smoke

Delta Airlines aircraft filled with smoke and reported engine troubles while in motion. (

Even when a situation is completely out of a company’s control, increased competition and exposure applies constant pressure on companies to keep their best foot forward.


Despite its simplicity, Delta’s decision makes a fundamental statement about dedication to customer comfort and satisfaction. More importantly, it manages to do so without relying on a major apology or making big promises about how the company will please customers moving forward.


Delta showed in this instance a genuine consideration for passengers by taking immediate action. The airline understood the inconvenience faced by its customers due to technical problems, and it acted to make the stressful situation more bearable.


This response serves as a reminder that the best crisis communications should occasionally focus on the small picture.  Then, a company can focus its efforts on helping those affected in simple but meaningful ways.


Do you think treating passengers to pizza was an effective way for Delta to handle this situation from a crisis communications’ standpoint? Do you agree that less can be more when it comes to handling a crisis? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi

Tamara Rahoumi

Tamara Rahoumi is a third-culture kid of Egyptian descent who was born and raised in New Jersey. She loves experiencing new things, and is in a constant state of wanderlust. She has spent a year studying in Switzerland and another teaching in Albania. Tamara graduated from Rutgers University, where she studied political science and cultural anthropology. She reports on a variety of stories for MUIPR. Follow Tamara on twitter @tamarahoumi.

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