Germantown HS band stuck in Philadelphia after flight to Rome gets cancelled

Posted at 5:59 PM, Dec 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-28 22:46:50-05

Dozens of Germantown High students and parents are frustrated after their flight to Rome was cancelled in Philadelphia. About a third of the school’s band was on the flight.

Band students worked hard to raise money so they could spend about a week in Rome. The kids were expected to see the sights, and play in two different Italian venues. Two flights made it to Italy, but the last one carrying 68 students and chaperones did not.

“When you read your sons flight from Philadelphia to Rome was cancelled, what went through your mind?” asked Elise Preston with TODAY'S TMJ4.

“My heart sank, just disappointed for all those kids,” replied mom Pam Komorowski.

Komorowski fought back tears Wednesday. Her 16-year-old son Kyle is a percussionist for Germantown High’s band.

For two years, their entire family was looking forward to Kyle playing internationally.

“We've never been. We've never had a passport. He's the first one to have a passport. It was the first for all of us and we were just excited for him,” said Komorowski.

The school group’s flight was delayed several times, moved to a different terminal, and then finally cancelled. The travelers say that around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday, American Airlines told them they didn’t have a flight crew for the international trip.

“We arrived at our hotel in Philadelphia about the same time we would have arrived in Rome had everything been on schedule,” said Germantown High School Band Director Jonathan Bell.

The trip’s schedule is now in jeopardy for the kids stuck in the states.

“I don't want him to miss a minute. If they don't leave until tomorrow, they are going to miss the first part of the tours. You can't go to Rome without seeing the Vatican,” said Komorowski.

Parents hope the stranded students will be on a flight to Rome by Thursday. TODAY'S TMJ4 reached out to American Airlines. According to a spokesperson, the airline is working to get the students to Rome as quickly as possible.

UPDATE: American Airlines gave TODAY'S TMJ4 the following statement Wednesday evening:

“Teams from American Airlines made it their top priority, working throughout the day, to establish a dedicated flight for the students and their chaperones. We wanted to ensure the band made it to their competition performance in Rome Dec. 30.

“All of the students will be transported via bus tomorrow morning, Dec. 29, to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). A dedicated flight will depart at approximately 9 a.m. ET, arriving in Rome later the same day.

“We sincerely apologize for the disruption to their travel plans. Our customer relations team will be reaching out to all of the students and their chaperones who were impacted by the previous flight cancelation from Philadelphia to Rome.”

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