As reported by the Gainesville Sun, families with a varying list of priorities were awaiting a connecting Delta flight bound for Atlanta at the Gainesville Regional Airport. Flight 5059, a small commuter-styled plane that seats 50, was made into a charter flight after the team's plane suffered mechanical issues Sunday (December 1) afternoon.
The team had a game scheduled for Monday against the University of Connecticut, but apparently there was a need to fly out that day. Another curious point is that passengers may have been duped by Delta in the process as well.
From the Gainesville Sun:
A passenger who was supposed to be on the flight to Atlanta before it was canceled and did not want to be identified told The Sun passengers were told there was a mechanical difficulty, but some of them noticed the Gators basketball team boarding the plane meant for them out the window.
Although Delta accommodated the passengers for the inconvenience, some customers missed out on important engagements. One person had to have her father drive her from Gainesville to Atlanta for a meeting, while another person missed a funeral.
Delta has issued a statement saying that the passengers were bumped due to “operational need” and other factors.