Delta Steps in to Fly 41 Stranded Students to Their Field Trip After American Airlines Cancels Flight

Delta Air Lines took their customer service to sky-high heights last week when they chartered a special plane for 41 fifth-graders left stranded in an Oklahoma airport.

The group of fifth-graders and chaperones from James L. Dennis Elementary School in Oklahoma City were headed to Washington, D.C. for a field trip last week when American Airlines canceled their flight.

With no way to get to the east coast, the group was stuck at Will Rogers World Airport — until Delta ground agents reached out with a solution.

After contacting the airline’s Operations and Customer Center, Delta, with the help of Delta Connection partner Endeavor, was able to track down a spare airplane in Atlanta and send it to Oklahoma City, Delta spokesperson Drake Castaneda tells PEOPLE.

From there, the flight flew direct to Richmond, Virginia, which is not a route typically operated by either Delta or American Airlines.

“This wasn’t something in front of [the Delta staffers]. They proactively reached out, even knowing these students weren’t booked on [Delta],” Castaneda says. “We like our people to see everybody as people and not as customers of A or B, but to be able to help people. It’s more about being in the people business than the business of transportation.”

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Shantell Barbour, one of the trip’s chaperones and a fifth-grade teacher at James Dennis, tweeted her appreciation for the kind gesture.

“@Delta THANK YOU for getting this group of 5th graders out of OKC and onto Richmond Virginia on a private flight when @AmericanAir wanted to leave us stranded! Most amazing corporation to work with at 3:00am. #flyDelta,” she wrote, along with a smiling photo of the young travelers.

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The airline responded, writing, “It was an absolute pleasure to assist you in your time of need. We are glad that we were able to help with such an amazing group of kids!”

American Airlines did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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