Boy Scouts bumped from flight, rent bus to make national competition

Even though there was a slight hitch in their plan, a group of Boy Scouts who, while on their way to a national competition in Indiana, found themselves stranded in Atlanta, are now on their way.

After exhausting all other options to find a flight that would get them to Indiana before 8 a.m. Sunday, the Scouts were able to rent a charter bus, which Delta will be covering the cost, said Carlos Santos, Delta spokesman.

Although they bought their plane tickets in April, the group of 30 Boy Scouts and their eight chaperones were forced to rent the bus Saturday afternoon when the airline overbooked their flight.

On their way to the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) at Indiana University, the scouts and chaperones arrived in Atlanta shortly after 4 p.m. said Andrew Carranco, one of the chaperones.

They were supposed to fly directly to Indiana from San Antonio, but when they arrived at San Antonio International Airport, they were bumped from their flight.

Why? According to Carranco, their Delta flight was overbooked and they were being diverted to Atlanta.

“When we got off the plane in Atlanta, we were told we should have never come here,” he said.

According to Santos, it is rare that customers get bumped from flights.

“Normally when that happens,” he said, “It is due to a number of issues. In the past few days there have been a number of thunderstorms in the northeast region and here in Atlanta that have caused flight delays and cancellations.”

When the Scouts began planning for the trip, they intentionally purchased all 38 tickets under one person’s name to ensure they would have no problems.

“The boys have spent hours preparing for this competition and spent thousands of dollars in costuming,” Carranco said. If they do not make it to Indiana by 8 a.m. Sunday morning, 21 of the 30 boys will be disqualified, he said.

Delta officials initially offered to put the group up in a hotel for the night and on a first thing in the morning. However, that wold have caused them to get to Indiana by 10 a.m. Sunday, Carranco said. That would have been too late.

The group tried feverishly to find other means of transportation. While Carranco was dealing with the Delta officials, another chaperone was on the phone with bus companies and the others were catering to the boys.

“I have been extremely impressed with how well everyone has handled themselves,” said Carranco. “I have been doing this for awhile and have never seen everyone handle themselves so well.”

They expect to arrive in Indiana around 3 a.m. The 611-mile trip is a nine and a half hour drive.

Check ajc.com for updates.