The 41 fifth graders and their chaperones were despondent after American Airlines canceled their flight, stranding them at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma on Monday en route to a long-anticipated class trip to Washington.
American offered the travelers their money back. But that, the chaperones said, would have scuttled a dream. Money was completely beside the point.
“We were told by American Airlines they were just going to refund us,” one chaperone told KOKO-TV, “and we were like, no, these fifth graders need to get to Washington D.C. We’ve been planning this for over a year.”
Enter Delta gate agents who witnessed the vast disappointment unfolding.
Querying corporate, they not only got the kids booked on another flight but also gave them their own plane.
Delta flew the CRJ-900 jet to Oklahoma, and six hours after they were initially scheduled to depart, took the kids directly to Richmond, Virginia, their original destination – without the Dallas-Fort Worth layover they would have had.
“It was absolutely amazing when Delta corporate came in and just said, ‘We’ll just give you the whole plane,’ ” one of the chaperones for the group told KOKO.
“When we heard about this group of students booked on another airline that were stuck in Oklahoma City, there wasn’t even a consideration given to not making an effort in finding a solution,” said Jeff Trainer, the Delta official who okayed the special flight, in a statement from the airline.
Meanwhile, on the ground in Oklahoma City, Delta agents rebooked the children and their chaperones. For employees Cara Horn and Kasi Wilson, it was uplifting.