Delta Boots 50 Passengers from Flight, Boards Florida Men's Basketball Team Instead
On Sunday, many people were flying home after spending Thanksgiving with family and friends. Cancellations happen, but Delta canceled Delta Connection flight 5059 at the Gainesville Regional Airport in Florida to accommodate the University of Florida Gators basketball team.
The plane that was scheduled to take the team to Storrs, CT for a game against the University of Connecticut was grounded for maintenance. Delta decided to cancel Flight 5059, which was meant to take passengers to Atlanta. Delta apologized and gave the passengers vouchers, but many missed important dates. For instance, a passenger missed a funeral while another did not arrive in time to meet his moving truck. Another passenger gave up and drove to Atlanta for a meeting. Others had to drive to Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa to catch their respective flights.
Passengers were told there were mechanical problems with their plane, but they saw the basketball team board in their place.
The university did not know what happened and told The Gainsville Sun that all decisions were made by Delta.
Any decision on plane use would be made by Delta, he wrote, not by the team or the University Athletic Association. He said he didn't have details on the university's agreement with Delta on Monday afternoon but estimated there were about 35 people, team included, who went on this trip.
"We generally fly private charters, although we do bus one or both ways for some games that are closer to home," he wrote.