Horry County students Beijing-bound after weather and customer service confusion forces overnight delay

Horry County students Beijing-bound after weather and customer service confusion forces overnight delay
A group of Horry County music students and chaperones are still stranded in Dallas after a comedy of delays and confusion has delayed their trip to China. (Credit: Amanda O'Brien)

DALLAS, TX (WMBF) - After a myriad of weather delays and customer service confusion, a group of Horry County music students and chaperones stuck in travel limbo for close to 30 hours have boarded a flight for China.

Chaperones say what began as innocent miscues turned into travel fiasco at the hands of American Airlines, forcing the group of 48 to spend Saturday night on the floor of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

“The kids have been surprisingly pleasant,” said Amanda O’Brien, a chaperone who began a social media campaign around the stranded students. “They’re handling this situation better than some adults would.”

33 high schoolers and 17 chaperones are in the airport at DFW (left from Charleston, SC yesterday morning) that have...

Posted by Amanda O'Brien on Saturday, April 13, 2019

The group left Myrtle Beach early Saturday around 2 a.m. bound for Charleston. This connection went smoothly according to O’Brein, but weather delays once in the air forced the group to land in Little Rock, Arkansas before eventually connecting to Dallas.

Once in Dallas the group says a passport issue brought to their attention by American Airlines forced even longer delays, placing the entire trip in jeopardy.

According to its website, the Horry County All-County Orchestra’s trip to Beijing included tours of the city, the Great Wall and a performance with Chinese students at a school in Tianjin. O’Brein says the trip had been planned for close to 10 months.

“[The kids] keep telling me ‘We’re running out of money and we haven’t even gotten there yet’,” O’Brien said over the phone shortly before the group was given the green light to board.

She estimates the cost of the trip at close to $3,000 per student.

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