GO
Loading...

Delta bumps full flight for Florida basketball team

Harriet Baskas NBC News contributor
Tuesday, 3 Dec 2013 | 6:28 PM ET
The Florida Gators were able to play their game against the UConn Huskies after Delta bumped a full flight of passengers to fly the team from Florida.
Getty Images
The Florida Gators were able to play their game against the UConn Huskies after Delta bumped a full flight of passengers to fly the team from Florida.

A full flight of passengers got bumped Sunday so that the University of Florida men's basketball team could get to Storrs, Conn., on time for a Monday night game—which they ended up losing.

Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant confirmed that the 50-passenger flight, Delta Connection 5059, flying out of Florida's Gainesville Regional Airport was canceled after the ExpressJet plane the team had chartered for the flight experienced a mechanical issue.

"The charter jet was supposed to leave at 3 p.m., and ExpressJet thought they could quickly fix the mechanical issue," said Durrant.

Read more at NBCNews.com
Supreme Court reluctant to expand frequent flier lawsuits
Affordable getaways for the holiday season
Pilot use of automation eyed in air crashes

The mechanical problem was not easily fixed, however, so to protect the on-time departure of the charter, ExpressJet put the Gators on a Delta Connection plane that was supposed to leave for Atlanta at 3:36 p.m.

Loews Hotels Chair: Super Bowl committee 'ready for anything'
Loews Hotels Chairman Jonathan Tisch, a "born optimist," thinks mayor-elect Bill de Blasio understands business is the "engine that creates jobs." He also discusses preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII. "This is the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl," he says.

ExpressJet, which operated both the charter and the regularly scheduled flight, is a regional airline that operates through capacity purchase agreements as American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express.

Passengers on the Delta Connection flight were rebooked. Most passengers got out on Sunday, and Durrant said a few may have waited to depart until Monday. The passengers were offered travel vouchers as compensation.

"The team didn't know this was happening," said Durrant. "All they knew was that when they got to the airport, they had an aircraft and departed. They were unaware of the consequences."

(Read more: Homeowners cashing in on the Super Bowl)

Team spokesman Denver Parler told NBC News via email, "We do not have anything further to add."

A passenger on the canceled flight told the Gainesville Sun they were told their plane had a mechanical difficulty—and at the same time, some of them looked out the window and noticed the Gators basketball team boarding the plane meant for them.

"It just felt like the wrong decision made by somebody who didn't think it through," she said.

The Connecticut Huskies ending up beating the Florida Gators 65-64 with a buzzer-beating jump shot.

(Read more: Sports bucket list: Top 10 coolest seats in sports)

—By NBC Contributor Harriet Baskas. Baskas is the author of seven books, including "Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You," and the Stuck at the Airport blog. Follow her on Twitter at @hbaskas.

  Price   Change %Change
DAL
---

Featured

Travel

U.S. News