American Airlines chartered plane to rescue stranded students in Montana
Flight cancellations due to weather conditions are a pain for any traveler. But things got extremely complicated when a group of just under 100 people – including 67 teenagers – got stranded.
It was even harder when their destination didn’t have many flight options to begin with.
But American Airlines came to the rescue.
A high school choir group from Montana was returning home last week from playing at Walt Disney World when their connecting flight to Dallas was dropped due to winter weather.
“We slept on the floor last night,” chaperone Barbra West told NBC’s Dallas affiliate KXAS.
There was no possibility of the whole group boarding another flight. They are expected to separate over several days, with some having to wait 5 days in Texas before taking an available return flight.
The lack of hotel space due to the size of the group added to the problems.
“How are we going to keep them warm at night?” West said. “Because it was a bit cold in the terminal. How are we going to feed 67 teenagers for 5 days?
That’s when American Airlines stepped in.
In an extremely rare move, the airline told the group it was chartering a plane just for them.
“The winter storm had a significant impact on our operations, particularly in Dallas-Fort Worth,” the airline said in a statement. “Throughout all of this, our team worked tirelessly to take care of our customers safely, including going above and beyond to get the group of students home after their trip was affected by the storm.
“We are proud of the extraordinary efforts of our team – from our colleagues who coordinated logistics to our crew members and airport teams who took special care of our customers.”
After the first night’s sleep in the terminal, the group found themselves on the charter the next day.
“It’s a fabulous learning experience,” West said. “There are no guarantees in life, and you just have to stay calm, try to deal with the situation, make the best of it and look for the silver lining. I think they would push l plane if they could, they all wanted to go home so badly.
As for Disney World, West said the group only has fond memories.
“Disney was amazing,” West said. “Half of our children have never flown before. Some of them had never been out of Montana before, and their eyes were popping out of their heads all the time.