DFW Airport

American Airlines Charters Flight for Stranded Student Group

Weather delays and cancellations left a group of 77 traveling students and chaperones from Montana stranded at DFW airport.

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Travel is an adventure. A group of band and choral students from Frenchtown High School in Missoula, Montana found that out this week first-hand when they were among the hundreds of weather-related flight cancellations and delays.

"We slept on the floor last night," chaperone Barbra West said.

West said her group of band and choral students went to Disney World to perform this week.

"Disney was amazing," West said. "Half of our kids have never flown before. Some of them have never been out of Montana before, and their eyes were popping out of their head the whole time!"

They were on their way home when their connecting flight through DFW was canceled. The earliest flights to rebook them had some flying on Sunday, and others flying home on Tuesday. Add to that, there were no hotel rooms to accommodate the group.

"How are we gonna keep them warm at night," West wondered. "Because it was kinda cold in the terminal. How are we going to feed 67 teenagers for five days?"

West didn't have to wonder. After spending one night at DFW Airport, American Airlines notified her they were chartering a flight for the group to fly home to Montana. The airline said it's rare it has the resources to do that, especially during winter weather events.

Barbara West
Students from Montana sleep where they can when their connecting flight through DFW was canceled.

"The winter storm has had a significant impact on our operation, especially in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)," a statement from American Airlines read. "Throughout it all, our team has worked tirelessly to safely care for our customers, including going above and beyond to transport the group of students home after their travel was affected by the storm. We are proud of our team's extraordinary effort — from our colleagues who coordinated logistics to our crew members and airport teams who took special care of our customers."

The chartered flight was delayed, but West texted before take-off to say they were all on board and on their way home.

"This is a fabulous learning experience there are no guarantees in life, and you just have to stay calm, try to address the situation, and make the best of it, and look for the silver lining," West said. "I think they'd push the plane if they could, they all wanted to get home so bad!"

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