Flight mishap leaves BYU and Utah fans stranded en route to Florida

BYU and Utah fans were redirected mid-flight from Florida to Tulsa last Friday as they headed to their beloved teams’ season openers the following day.

On Sept. 3, BYU was to play USF at 4 p.m. ET with Utah playing Florida at 7 p.m. ET. 

Fans for both teams boarded an Allegiant flight in Provo the evening prior in order to have plenty of time for travel and rest. However, this plan was quickly derailed.

According to Nate Slack, a BYU fan and passenger on the flight, Allegiant had informed the passengers of an emergency stop in Tulsa to refuel the plane before continuing to their final destination of St. Petersburg.  

“The flight went on as planned, we landed in Tulsa and then sat on the ground for an hour before the pilot came on the speaker,” Slack said. “He apologized and told us the flight had been canceled. He didn’t tell us why.” 

Answers to this cancellation did not come easily to the passengers as Allegiant employees tried their best to accommodate the mishap. With $200 in vouchers and $150 of flight credit, fans were left in Tulsa to fend for themselves for the night until another flight was available. 

As Slack tweeted about the flight cancelation that evening, other passengers and fans added to the trip mishap. 

Jonathan Hokanson, another passenger, commented on Slack’s tweet, “I am on the same flight as you! Allegiant you are our only hope to get us to the BYU Football game on time! Please help!”

In a very stressful and upsetting situation, BYU and Utah fans bonded over the trial they were facing and shared their excitement to see their teams in the season openers. 

The following morning, passengers were informed there would be a 10 a.m. flight out of Tulsa to Tampa. As the flight boarded, the same crew was present and answers to the previous night of confusion were given. 

The crew informed the passengers that the cancellation was caused by a myriad of reasons. First, there was a weight restriction for the plane due to the elevation in Utah. Solutions to this were to either limit the number of people on the flight or limit the amount of fuel, in which they chose the latter.

Second, the limited fuel in the plane required a stop in order to ensure they would get to Florida safely. Third, Allegiant has a limit to their flight lengths to not exceed more than nine hours. Taxiing the plane took longer than expected and would have put the flight at a total of nine hours and 15 minutes, breaking the limit. Therefore, a cancellation had to be made by Allegiant. 

This new flight put fans at arriving in Tampa at 1:30 p.m. Since the incident was publicized through Twitter, others lent their support through comments in hopes the fans could make their games. 

A delay in flight plans was not the only delay these fans experienced. An unexpected storm hit hard in Florida and forced a 2.5-hour delay for BYU’s matchup with USF. What may have seemed to be a nuisance to the rest of Cougar Nation turned out to be a blessing for these weary travelers as it was more than enough to ensure their arrival at the game before kickoff. 

Once the sky was clear from the storm, BYU dominated USF in a 50-21 blowout— a great way to start the season and a well-deserved reward for all the fans who traveled to see the Cougars take home a win. 

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