The U.S. Men’s Curling team stunned the world by winning the gold medal at the 2018 Olympics, but the improbable feat was not enough to get the team better seats on the long flight home.
Skip John Shuster and company sent a tweet to the airline hoping for some VIP treatment with more leg room than offered in coach on the more-than-14-hour flight on Delta Air Lines back from Pyeongchang to Duluth.
“Our Olympic #curling champions are flying home on Monday. Upgrades?!?” the tweet said.
Coach Phill Drobnick seconded the request, tweeting, “Come on @Delta I think #DeltaOne is calling our name for the gold! 5 athletes and 2 coaches!”
No can do, the airline said. There were no seats available for the upgrades, spokesman Michael Thomas said.
“We are excited these Olympic champions chose to fly home on Delta,” he said on Monday morning.
Delta celebrated their gold-medal achievement at the airport in Seoul and popped champagne and gave the curlers a toast on board their flight home, he said.
Shuster did get a comfier accommodation in First Class, thanks to a Florida man who swapped seats.
“Stranger who traded me seats was a kind gentleman from Hollywood, FL by the name of Gary Balter,” Shuster tweeted. “Can you please help me give Gary a big Twitter Thank You?
Team member Tyler George said nobody felt slighted by the denial.
“We were never denied anything, simply asked about upgrades, were told very politely the flight was full,” he said in a Tweet. “We hold @Delta in the same high regard we always have. They had a really nice gift presentation for us when we boarded.”
The team of Shuster and his four teammates — George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Joe Polo — can expect a rousing welcome when they land in Minnesota Monday. The Duluth Curling Club has planned a welcome home celebration at 5 p.m. at the Duluth International Airport. The team will be escorted by Duluth and Superior Police as they depart from the airport.
A larger party is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Mayor Emily Larson and Superior Mayor Jim Paine will make remarks and present a proclamation and special honor.