After hours of flying and days of waiting, 45 members of the Manatee High School band who were stuck in Philadelphia have landed safely in Italy.
The flight to Rome landed around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, according to Victoria Lupica, an American Airlines communications official. By 6 p.m. the flight had arrived at the gate, online flight tracking information showed.
They will reunite with the rest of the group and are scheduled to perform Friday and Sunday as part of the New Year’s Day parade in Rome. Members of the Manatee Marching ’Canes had been planning and saving to march in the Rome New Year’s Day parade for three years. Students sold hams, turkeys, candles, mattresses — anything and everything to get to Rome, according to Sugar ’Canes dance team member Sara Trinci.
“We wish them a lot of luck and hope they have fun,” Lupica said.
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The group of 45 people, including band director Jim Bruce and Linda Boone, the volunteer assistant band director, were originally scheduled to take an American Airlines flight from the Philadelphia International Airport Tuesday night.
After their flight was canceled because of mechanical issues, American Airlines created a special flight Wednesday for the remaining travelers. The flight out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York departed Thursday morning. The airline provided bus transportation from Philadelphia to New York for the flight.
Before the specially created flight, the students’ luggage was stuck on the original plane until Wednesday night, and although the airline put them up in a hotel, many students had no spending money because they had already converted their American dollars to euros.
The other part of the group was on a flight from Tampa on British Airways and arrived in Rome Wednesday morning.