Delta Airlines Booted About 50 People Off Flight to Make Room for Florida Men’s Basketball Team

Billy Donovan, Casey Prather, Dorian Finney-Smith, Scottie WilbekinMaybe the Saints should change airlines, because a college basketball team is getting better service.

The Saints couldn’t have wanted to get out of Seattle any quicker following a 34-7 shellacking at the hands of the Seahawks on Monday night, but they couldn’t even get off the ground due to some airplane malfunctions after the loss. The University of Florida men’s basketball team experienced a very different airline experience just a day earlier, though.

Delta forced almost 50 passengers at the Gainesville, Fla., airport to reconfigure their travel plans on Sunday afternoon so that the University of Florida men’s basketball team could use their plane, according to the Gainesville Sun. The team’s original flight was delayed due to maintenance, so they managed to charter the Delta flight to take them to Storrs, Conn., where they were set to play UConn — and eventually lose 66-65 on a last-second buzzer beater — on Monday night.

The airline canceled flight 5059, which was originally scheduled to depart for Atlanta at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. One unidentified passenger told the Gainesville Sun that passengers were told the flight was being cancelled due to “mechanical difficulty,” but that some of them noticed the Gators boarding their plane soon thereafter.

Delta found new flights for all of the inconvenienced passengers and offered flight vouchers for future Delta trips, although at least one of the passengers was unable to catch a new flight until sometime Monday.