Key Excerpts From the Philadelphia Inquirer article (Bold emphasis added):
As Frank Fabi sprinted across the 5K finish line of Disney’s Cross Country Classic on Saturday, helping secure first place for his team, he forgot for a few moments that less than 14 hours earlier he and his 68 teammates were stranded about 983 miles from the starting line.
The 17-year-old senior and the 78 other people traveling with the Ocean City High School boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams — including coaches and teammates’ families — came to Philadelphia on Thursday to head to Orlando, Fla., for Disney’s invitational race at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. It was a trip for which they had spent two years raising funds.
But then their Frontier Airlines flight was canceled due to bad weather and the earliest Frontier could get them to Orlando was Wednesday.
No airline could get the group to Orlando by Saturday morning, so the group called for their bus and headed for the exit, accepting they would miss the race. But then the coaches were chased down by two Delta Air Lines representatives with good news: Delta would fly a private plane into Philadelphia and charter the team members to their race.
Delta operations personnel found an available plane and crew members to fly a McDonnell-Douglas MD-88 from Atlanta to Philadelphia exclusively for the team — Delta does not fly from Philadelphia to Orlando. Frontier officials worked with Delta to transfer the team’s tickets and the group was not charged any additional fees.
This is not the first time Delta has helped out a group of students. In June, Delta used a spare aircraft to fly 41 Oklahoma City fifth graders to Washington, D.C., after their American Airlines flight was canceled last minute.
“It speaks to the mind-set of Delta people,” said Castañeda. “If they see the opportunity to do something right, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Delta customer or not.”
Certainly good PR for DL.