“Can I tell you my story?”
West Hills Chaminade Excessive boys’ basketball coach Bryan Cantwell was telling a flight agent about attempting to get his gamers and fellow coaches house for Christmas after touring to St. Louis final week for a match. They have been stranded due to the various flight cancellations attributable to the blizzard and different issues.
Cantwell was the final of the Chaminade touring celebration to reach at LAX on Monday night time through Houston.
“Sir, I’m going to get you on this flight,” Cantwell mentioned the United Airways agent advised him.
“She punches it and hands me the ticket and I fall down crying,” Cantwell mentioned.
All of it started per week in the past. The journey agent warned Cantwell that there was a “big storm” coming and requested if the staff may depart for house Wednesday.
Cantwell mentioned sure however the staff couldn’t discover any flights out of St. Louis to Los Angeles and the gamers weren’t allowed to journey by themselves as a result of they have been minors, until it was a direct flight so that they wouldn’t be stranded in a connecting metropolis.
One in every of Chaminade’s gamers, Bryce Goldman, injured his toe and received a flight house along with his dad and mom. One other participant had household in St. Louis and would have the ability to fly house along with his dad and mom on Christmas Day. On Thursday, all flights have been canceled. On Friday, there have been no flights. On Saturday, gamers and coaches went to the St. Louis airport at 5 a.m. to attempt to fly standby. 4 gamers and one coach made it out on one flight, then two coaches and 6 gamers made it out on one other flight.
Ethan Johnson and supervisor Carly Cosby received on a 3rd flight sprinting to a unique terminal in St. Louis for a direct flight to San Jose. Cosby’s father drove to San Jose to drive her house.
Left behind have been Cantwell, his 15-year-old freshman son Kahlil and participant Corey Jones. They spent Christmas Eve at a resort. Cantwell checked out a 40-hour practice experience house or a 26-hour rental automobile as choices. They spent Christmas Day consuming breakfast, lunch and dinner collectively whereas watching soccer on TV.
On Monday, all three went to the airport at 5 a.m. and have been booked by United on a flight to Houston. Solely Corey had a seat on a connecting flight to Los Angeles. After they arrived, Kahlil received a seat because of the agent working whereas the flight was within the air, leaving Cantwell caught in Houston. The one flight out for Cantwell was one to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, however the flight was delayed so lengthy it wouldn’t make an 11 p.m. deadline, so Cantwell assumed it might be canceled.
That’s when he pleaded with the agent in Houston to seek out one other flight to Los Angeles.
“Excuse me, can I tell you my story,” he mentioned. “Can I get on any flight to Southern California?”
The agent received him on the flight. His spouse, Beth, who had picked up their freshman son at LAX and drove him house, then drove again to the airport and picked up Bryan at 10 p.m.
“The people from United were amazing,” Cantwell mentioned Tuesday as he ready to ship a letter thanking the brokers for the various hours of labor securing flights for himself and the gamers. “This was a freak occurrence. There was nothing they could do.”
Chaminade resumes play Wednesday, although a number of gamers are feeling sick after their memorable journey in the course of the Christmas storm of 2022.