High School Basketball Coach Still Waiting On $10,000 Refund From Southwest Airlines


Over Christmas, a high school basketball team from Seattle, Washington, was stranded in Las Vegas for five days subsequent to Southwest Airlines canceling their flight. After thousands of dollars were spent, they drove 18 hours on a bus through the snow.

The Rainer Beach High School team had been in Las Vegas for the Tarkanian Classic.

The trip had been set for Dec.19 to Dec. 23, and included 15 students, many parents, and coaching staff, with a total of 30 individuals.

However, just prior to their time to go to the airport on Dec. 23, to head home, they found out that Southwest Airlines had canceled their flight. To make matters worse, they company wouldn’t reschedule them.

In the next days after that, head coach Virginia Bethea continued to go back and forth to the airport in order to secure a flight for the boys to get back home to Seattle. During this time, the coach also had to pay expenses like hotel rooms, rental cars, and food, totaling $10,000.

“They were trying to put us on flights to nowhere. They were going to send eight kids to Phoenix with no connecting flights to Seattle, eight kids to Sacramento with no connecting flight,” the coach said. Other options were ruled out, as well, as more flights were canceled in the meantime.

After more than a week of being away from home, one of the coach’s friends stepped in to help. On Dec. 28, a $15,000 bus was chartered, and the team traveled about 18 hours to get back home, through the snow.

As of Friday, the team hadn’t totally been refunded for the canceled flights. They added that they were told that more expenses could be covered but haven’t been told the amount.

The team says they will still maintain the program and travel to elite tournaments. However, they won’t be doing so on Southwest.


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