MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More than 50 high school soccer players are back in South Florida after they said flight frustrations forced them to sleep at the airport.
“We just came from a game, and we were tired,” said 10th grader Carlos Dossantos. “We think we are going, you know, to our houses.”
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He plays soccer with Miramar United Elite FC. His team traveled to Virginia for a soccer showcase over Memorial Day weekend.
What started as a dream opportunity to highlight their skills in front of college scouts, turned into a travel nightmare coming back.
“It was stressful,” he said. “Because then we had to study, and we did not know if we were going to make it.
They were supposed to be on a United flight from Dulles Airport in Washington DC to FLL at 10:08 pm Monday.
However, only six of the 57 high students were given spots on their originally scheduled flight. The rest had to wait until 1:00 pm the next day for a United flight to MIA.
“Most of them had to sleep on the conveyor belt for the luggage, on the floor, or on chairs,” said attorney Stefano Lopez, who represents Miramar United Elite FC.
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“Some had to miss their finals. We have to address that with the schoolteachers, ”he continued.
Lopez said they had an agreement with a travel company and United Airlines.
They said United told them the flight had apparently been changed in the system.
“We got no alerts of any flight changes,” said Miramar United coach Michael Ramsammy.
He said they were never given any hotel or meal vouchers. He also said they could not return on another airline due to the prearranged agreement.
He said it is still unclear exactly what caused the problem.
“Work out who’s wrong afterwards,” he said. “But do not leave 57 children stranded in the airport with no food, no water, and nowhere to sleep.”
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On Monday, according to tracking website FlightAware, there were 400 US flights canceled across the country and 2,400 delayed.