Delta Air Lines Comes To The Rescue After Students Abandoned By American Airlines

Delta Air Lines, fortunately, came to the rescue for a group of students travelling to Washington. It has been reported that the children, in the fifth grade, were effectively abandoned by American Airlines, despite looking forward to the trip for over a year.

Delta rescues stranded passengers
Delta commandeered a partner’s CRJ-900 in order to fly the stranded passengers. Photo: Delta

It is fairly unusual to see airlines intervening in matters concerning other airlines. This is especially true when they haven’t been approached by the original airline. However, it seems as though this is the case in this particular incident. Indeed, it is certainly a situation which I would not expect to see myself when travelling.

What happened?

A group of 41 fifth grade students and their teachers were due to fly from Oklahoma City to Virginia on the 2nd June. The students were heading to Washington DC for a field trip that had been planned for over a year, but American Airlines unexpectedly cancelled the flight. This meant that the students were left stranded with no more than the promise of a refund.


This is where Delta Air Lines entered the picture and saved the day. The airline reportedly went above and beyond in helping another airline’s passengers. Indeed, the airline showed that you can put passengers needs above financial needs.

Delta Rescues Stranded American Airlines Passengers
Some of the group of stranded passengers rescued by Delta Air Lines. Photo: Delta

Delta’s charter flight

Delta proved that it had a heart by organising a replacement flight for the students stranded outside of their care. According to View From The Wing, the airline’s ground agents in Oklahoma contacted their management to see if anything could be done. and to maybe reroute them on a Delta flight. However, this is no easy feat when you need to fit 41 passengers onto flights at short notice.

Aware of this, Delta flew an aircraft to Oklahoma just to carry the students to their destination. Delta additionally flew the students directly to their destination, cutting out their flight connection. The whole incident took place on the 2nd of June, and despite being reported by the airline on the 3rd, has only just caught media attention. This was a great chance to generate good PR by doing the right thing by Delta.

“We see people”

Speaking regarding the rescue operation, Jeff Trainer who is a duty director in the airline’s operational control centre said,

“When we heard about this group of students booked on another airline that [was] stuck in Oklahoma City, there wasn’t even a consideration given to not making an effort in finding a solution.”

He went on to add “When we see people in a bind, we don’t see customers of one airline or another – we see people”. The passengers were certainly very lucky as this is not seen every day.

What do you think of Delta’s extraordinary rescue mission? Let us know in the comments!


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Archie Brunt

This is why I love Delta!

Kaden Ross Zimmerman

Good o’ll Delta. (:

george munoz

Delta CEO Ed Bastian “This industry is about more than just airplanes and technology. It’s about people. And we have wonderful people that provide great service.” June 1, 2019

Karl Koerbling

was this 11 months ago or was it June 2?? or last July story has inconsistency.


Gilberto F Lopes

My daughter was once stranded in Toronto in 2016 flying a connecting flight from Quebec on her way back to Rio de Janeiro – Brazil after a 3-month stay in Quebec as an exchange student. Air Canada did nothing to support her or any other passengers on the flight. Air… Read more »

Steve Johnson

This, at the same time that the United CEO can’t figure out how to make his customers happy. I avoid United and American at all costs, happily fly Delta and Alaska (legacy Virgin America) whenever I can. I’ve experienced this kind of attitude and care from Delta, personally, and sorry… Read more »

Peter Toy

Kudos to Delta Airlines

Michael H Anisfeld

not often you hear of an airline doing the correct thing! Kudos Delta (let’s see how United gets out of this pickle)


One of the best run airlines in the US, financially and it seems ethically as well.


Delta is the most stress free flying experience in the business!


always been an American customer but this actually gives me great pause….I think I may give Delta a try.

William Drummond

This seems to be a new Delta. I used to fly frequently for work. For a while, one airline was about the same as the other. I retired in 1999. Since then, I do not fly as often. However, I have flown a lot so far in 2019. My brother… Read more »

Jack Pestaner

Im a loyal Delta customer, switched over when NWA and Continental broke up their shared mileage program. I have to say that Delta is one of the few if any corporations that have improved customer service and employee morale as they acquired NWA and grew much larger. I have rarely… Read more »




First off, awesome job Delta!
Second, it’s Delta Air Lines.


For a company that focuses on airlines, one would think you could spell Delta Air Lines properly.

Bob Braan

I usually fly Delta. They don’t have any 737 Max aircraft. They should advertise that fact. Google “Southwest Airlines is going to allow people who don’t want to fly on the Boeing 737 Max to switch planes for free”. United as well so far. Hopefully all other airlines allow passengers… Read more »

Bob Braan

I usually fly Delta. They don’t have any 737 Max aircraft. They should advertise that fact. Google “Southwest Airlines is going to allow people who don’t want to fly on the Boeing 737 Max to switch planes for free”. United as well. Hopefully all other airlines allow passengers to avoid… Read more »


As a loyal American Airlines customer since I started flying as a child, and now a consistent frequent flyer on American, I have to say how disappointed I am in @Americanair. It makes me reconsider my allegiance to an airline that “sees people”

Linda Robinson

Thank you Delta! for caring about our children. American Airlines have lost their edge many years ago! I try not to travel with them! I recently miss out on a cruise due to boarding American they could care less! We had to take a loss and went back home!!

Robert Hartl

“Delta is ready when you are.”

Pat A Ellson

I have to admit, I abandoned Delta many years ago after moving from Dallas. Now, I cringe at the thought of flying United and American. I have traded in my miles for Amazon cards. A flight on Alaska Airlines was wonderful and the international flights with Air Canada were passable.… Read more »

VJ Gopu

Delta Airlines should be very proud of doing what American Air should have done, Delta’s culture of concern for passengers should be emulated by other airlines.

Ben Wang

I think I should abandon American now and start taking Delta! Thank you for doing the right thing which is hard to find these days in the airline business.

Gail Ohashi

In my last 3 trips to Europe I flew with Delta & had great service each time!

Lois Huneycutt

I have had a lot of bad experiences on airlines that cannot seem to get you from Point A to Point B recently. I fly Delta whenever I can because I haven’t had one of those bad experiences. Kudos to them.

Nigel Dallas

Delta Air Lines, America’s oldest airline , and the most caring also! Must be that great southern hospitality that over here in Ireland we hear about. Delta will be my choice of airline , when i visit the US next year if im spared. We have American & United here… Read more »

Michael Trujillo

While I am proud that Delta stepped in to help the stranded students, the “we see people” quote from Mr. Trainer is a load of c**p. Two days ago, 23 people (myself included) traveled to RDU in order to serve a mission trip in the Dominican Republic on an all… Read more »


The, by far, greatest problem in airline customer service is bad weather. And sometimes nothing much can be done to fix the problem especially with the current load factors. You can not expect a company to shoulder the cost of bad weather. Sometimes for their best customers, by that I… Read more »

Ira McCown

When I lived in New York City, I almost always chose Delta and found it always went above and beyond expectations. 7 years ago I retired to Miami, where American has a hub, so if I nonstops, I’m often forced to take American, which is c****y compared to Delta. Even… Read more »

Parker West

Oh Momma, this is one move that will pay off for Delta many times over the cost. Well done Delta! I don’t think any good comes out of merging profitable carriers other than fewer seats and much higher fares for the remaining airline. In the case of United and American… Read more »