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Pilot Demands Sandwiches, Delays Plane for Over 2 Hours

December 23, 2013 at 4:50 PM | by | Comments (0)

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) runs a Saturday 6:45am flight that goes from Lahore to Manchester to New York. Last week it took off at 9:15am - two and a half hours late - because the pilot demanded sandwiches, and the catering company didn't have any sandwiches, and so everyone waited around until the sandwiches were delivered from a nearby five-star hotel. Done and done.

On one hand, that's exactly the kind of story that causes the blood pressure of travelers to spike uncontrollably. Three continents to travel, lots of connections to make, and flight Captain Naushad won't take off until he gets sandwiches. On the other hand, you have to respect a man who knows what he wants and won't budge until he gets it. And this guy, he wanted some damn sandwiches.

What seems to have happened - according to some reported comments from the pilots' union that are suggestive but not totally clear - is that Naushad was throwing a hissy fit over cost-cutting measures implemented by the airline. PIA is trying to save money by reducing the quantity, quality, and selection of food provided on international flights, for an estimated total savings of more than three and a half million dollars.

On this particular flight the food selections were apparently limited to peanuts, chips, and biscuits. The demand for sandwiches was something in between a reasonable demand for adequate sustenance - who can be expected to live off dried bread for that long - and a hilariously passive-aggressive move to express displeasure with the airline's cost-cutting.

There are even some reports that PIA's management originally backed the pilot, though it's tough to tell what exactly went down since the airline has been doing a bit of damage control in the aftermath.

In any case, and obviously, the incident was not amusing for the passengers who were kept on the tarmac and who subsequently missed connections in Manchester and New York.

[Photo: Jebulon / Wiki Commons]

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