For 41 fifth grade students and their chaperones in Oklahoma City, what started as a normal weekend preparing for a trip to Richmond, Va. turned into an unfortunate moment of uncertainty as their flight, booked on a Delta competitor, was suddenly cancelled. As a result, the Monday morning start of the students' educational cultural excursion now hung in the balance, with no timely alternatives provided by their booked carrier.
With no resolution in sight for the group, despite being the customers of another airline, Delta teams from Oklahoma City in the airline's Operations and Customer Center (OCC) swiftly began looking for ways to make things right for these students.
@Delta THANK YOU for getting this group of 5th graders out of OKC and onto Richmond Virginia on a private flight when @AmericanAir wanted to leave us stranded! Most amazing corporation to work with at 3:00am. #flyDelta pic.twitter.com/plDwghRusI— Shantell Barbour (@barbour_5th) June 2, 2019
With no feasible alternative to depart Oklahoma City for the remainder of the day on the other airline, Delta teams in the OCC including the Duty Director, Airport Customer Service (ACS) desk and Strategic Planning Team worked together with Delta Connection partner Endeavor to commandeer a spare aircraft and crew to fly from Atlanta to Oklahoma City, operating a special direct flight to Richmond for the group.
Hi Shantell, it was an absolute pleasure to assist you in your time of need. We are glad that we were able to help with such an amazing group of kids! Thank you so much for sharing this picture, it really warmed my heart. Their smiles are priceless!!! ❤ HSH— Delta (@Delta) June 2, 2019
"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 – a Duty Director in the OCC who approved the aircraft reassignment that made the special flight possible. "We operate on a simple philosophy – do what's right, no matter the specifics at hand. When we see people in a bind, we don't see customers of one airline or another – we see people. We're here to help everyone we can. That's what makes moments like these possible."
Likewise, on the ground in Oklahoma City, ACS agents worked without skipping a beat to help this group of fifth graders get to Richmond. Working in coordination with the OCC, Delta's team in Oklahoma City booked each of the 41 students and chaperones and delivered the good news that the group would not only be making the trip to Richmond, but they would do so on a "private plane" – one of Delta's CRJ-900 jets occupied by them alone.
"We were so thrilled to have been able to make such a difference in the days of each and every one of these kids," said Cara Horn, an ACS agent in Oklahoma City, who helped the group at the airport alongside her colleague and fellow Customer Service Agent, Kasi Wilson. "At Delta, sure, we help people make connections from point A to point B, but the connections we're able to make with people are just as, if not even more important to us and our whole team," added Horn, while also praising the whole OKC team.