GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- On one of the busiest flying days of the year, Delta Air Lines canceled an Atlanta-bound commercial flight from Gainesville Regional Airport so that the Florida men's basketball team could use the plane.
According to the Gainesville Sun, the team's charter plane was grounded Sunday afternoon by maintenance issues. The Gators were heading to Storrs, Conn., for a Monday night game against Connecticut.
A Delta spokesman told the newspaper that passengers on Delta Connection Flight 5059 were either placed on other flights or given vouchers valid for use on future trips.
In a statement, Delta later said its intent was to swap aircraft but a delay in completing the maintenance forced the airline to cancel Flight 5059.
"Delta made every effort to re-accommodate those customers on alternate flights and we apologize to the 50 customers who were inconvenienced," the airline's statement read. "An internal review is underway to understand the specific circumstances around this aircraft substitution but it is clear that the University of Florida in no way participated in the decision-making process."
Team spokesman Denver Parler told the Sun he wasn't aware that passengers were displaced. He said about 35 people affiliated with the team were on the 50-seat plane.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.