Delta Bumps Passengers To Fly College Basketball Team To Game

Because making sure that a college basketball game goes off without a hitch is more important than transporting boring ol’ passengers who can’t sink a three-pointer to save their lives, Delta Air Lines recently chose to cancel a commercial flight and use that jet for a charter flight for the University of Florida basketball team.

The Gainesville Sun reports that on Sunday afternoon, passengers expecting to fly on a Delta Connection flight from Gainesville to Atlanta found out their jet had been repurposed to get the UF Gators up to Connecticut for their Monday night game against U.Conn.

The team’s charter flight had been grounded for maintenance issues, and rather than have the team wait for that plane to be repaired or to find other travel options, Delta canceled the commercial flight and gave those passengers travel vouchers, which is exactly what people want when trying to get home on the busiest travel weekend of the year.

A Delta rep said the swap was made “due to operational need and aircraft routing requirements as a result of the busy travel holiday.”

One bumped passenger says they were originally told their flight was canceled because of mechanical problems, but called shenanigans on that explanation when they spotted a bunch of basketball players boarding their supposedly broken down plane.

A rep for the airport tells the Sun that the passengers were all eventually booked on other flights, though some did not get to leave until Monday. And the Sun reports that some passengers had to be driven quite some distance to airports in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa in order to catch other flights.

Let’s just hope they got home in time to see the Gators lose to the Huskies by one point.

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  1. CommonC3nts says:

    That is so wrong. Then they tried to lie about it.
    They should have to get every passenger to agree to compensation before they can steal their plane.
    So each passenger should have at least flown for free, got 100% of all their extra travel or hotel expenses covered, and then free taxi from the airport to where they were going. That is the minimum compensation they should have received and on top of that they should get a free round trip ticket to anywhere.
    If delta does not want to pay then they should not be able to lie and cancel the flight.

    These are the two laws we need from this:
    1) an airline cannot lie about why they are canceling a flight. They have to tell you the real reason. If you find they lied then you should get 100% refund on your travel and they still must book you on another flight.
    2) an airline cannot cancel a low sold flight within 1 week of takeoff without a minimal compensation that I stated above. If an airline thinks the route does not have enough paid tickets then they need to cancel it at least a week in advance and book passengers on a new flight. The last minute of stealing your plane should not be legal.

  2. Naskarrkid says:

    I would have made the team wait their turn. Surely the other team and/or officials would understand. Athletes aren’t any better than regular people when it comes to travel, IMO.

  3. steve65341 says:

    Hopefully at least a few passengers knew about something called “Involuntary Denied Boarding” which forces the airline to compensate those bumped with cash. They always try to get people to accept vouchers first but it is your right to demand monetary compensation. See here for a good explanation – http://boardingarea.com/frequentlyflying/2011/11/03/involuntary-denied-boarding-compensation-explained/

  4. Xenotaku says:

    My roommate was reading to me from another article about this. At least one person missed a funeral due to the “cancelled” flight. And some of the replacement flights? Were out of other airports, 50-100 miles away.