Delta Bumps Whole Flight for UF Hoops
December 3rd, 2013| by Lost Lettermen
[UPDATE, 12:55 PM ET Tuesday: Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant told Yahoo! Sports that Delta’s intention was to try to get both flights off the ground as close to on time as possible.
“They used that aircraft to cover the charter because they were confident they could rectify that mechanical issue and then it’s a win-win,” Durrant said. “Maybe you take a slight delay on the scheduled side, you protect the charter and everyone is happy. That was the intention behind which that decision was made, but unfortunately the issue with the other aircraft was not rectified and ultimately the delay became a cancelation as a result of the mechanical issues.
“I want to emphasize this was done without the team’s knowledge. From their perspective, they had signed up for a charter and in cooperation with Express Jet, we got them an aircraft. We had to make an equipment swap, but they were not aware there was a mechanical issue that was going to drive cancelations over on the scheduled side of our business.”]
On Sunday afternoon, the 50 or so passengers on Delta flight 5059 from Gainesville, FL, to Atlanta were told that their flight was cancelled “due to operational need and aircraft routing requirements as a result of the busy travel holiday.”
What those passengers eventually found out, however, was that their plane was converted into a charter for the Florida men’s basketball team, whose regular charter plane was taken out of service for maintenance and who had a game the following night at UConn.
Delta later said that all affected passengers were booked on other flights, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Many had to drive to airports in Tampa, Orlando, or Jacksonville to catch those flights, some of which didn’t leave until the next day. One person missed meeting his moving van after a cross-country trip; another missed a funeral.
Call it karma, as the Gators ended up losing to the Huskies, 65-64, on a buzzer-beater.