The University of Florida basketball team received a frustrating surprise on Sunday when their chartered flight for a game in Connecticut was canceled due to mechanical problems. Thankfully, Delta was there to accommodate the Gators. The airline booted paying customers off of its 50-seat commercial flight to Atlanta and let the Gators take the plane instead.
According to the Gainesville Sun, on one of the busiest flying days of the year Sunday, the airline canceled a scheduled flight from Gainesville to Atlanta. One passenger was told the cancellation was because of mechanical difficulties, but they soon became angry when they realized the plane they were supposed to take would actually be carrying the basketball team to Storrs, Connecticut, for a game the following night.
The Gators made their game with plenty of time to spare, but the would-be flyers fared much worse. A Delta spokesperson said that the booted passengers were either re-routed to other nearby airports — including Jacksonville, Orlando, or Tampa — or were given vouchers for another Delta flight. According to the Sun, canceling the flight sent some of those passengers' plans into trouble:
A passenger who was moving from Salt Lake City to New Jersey was going to miss the moving truck, so he had to find someone else to meet the driver instead. A student's father had to drive her to Atlanta so she wouldn't miss an event she needed to make. Another passenger missed a funeral.
Don't blame the Gators, though. Making room for the Florida basketball was the decision of Delta, and not the team, according to a university spokesman. "Consider this your daily reminder that airlines could not possibly give less of a crap about you," Deadspin's Barry Petchesky writes.
In all, about 35 people associated with the team hopped on board the 50-seat flight, which was believed to be at full capacity before the switch.