Remember that movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”? The one where Steve Martin and John Candy get stranded in Kansas by their airline, then join forces to get to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving?
A group of folks found themselves in a similar situation earlier this month when a canceled flight left them stuck in Orlando, Florida — so they banded together to share a van and get to their destination. And in a thoroughly modern twist, one of the travelers documented the journey for social media.
The adventure began when a Dec. 4 Frontier Airlines flight from Orlando to Knoxville, Tennessee got canceled.
“They were like, ‘Well, we can get you out on the next flight, which is Tuesday night,” recalled passenger Michelle Miller, to “Today.” “That’s like 48 hours later!”
Fellow passenger Alanah Story told “Today” that a woman named Amy floated the idea of renting a van. Multiple people urgently needed to get to Knoxville — like a high school student scheduled to visit her dream college, the University of Tennessee and another traveler helping a friend move internationally — and eventually, the group coalesced.
“We got a really good vibe, because these are regular, normal, wholesome people trying to get home and having things that they need to take care of,” Carlos Cordero told CNN Travel.
The crew rented a 15-person van from the airport’s Hertz counter and assigned each person a number so they could keep track of everyone at rest stops. Story introduced the gang to her 180,000 followers on TikTok just before they hit the road:
I cant make this up. Road trip! 🚐 @The Farm Babe @StarrPuck @doerksen92 @Renee @robinwharton976 @CozumelAutentico
That video’s since garnered 3.9 million views and 795,000 likes. Story kept viewers updated a couple more times through the 9-plus-hour journey, including a celebratory post when the van finally made it to the Knoxville airport.
@alanahstory21 Replying to @lul.ken and thats a wrap folks! #roadtrip ♬ original sound – Alanah
The group went in different directions after the trip ended, but some have made plans to keep in touch. (And the University of Tennessee treated their prospective student to lunch when she made it to her campus visit on time!)
“Everybody was so awesome,” Cordero said. “Everyone got along, everyone pitched in … Everybody really had their own thing going on. But everybody cared about one another’s ventures and responsibilities.”
Story also told CNN the trip restored her faith in humanity “a little bit.”
“There’s definitely hope for people — people, they can be good,” she said. “And also, if you get the opportunity to go on a crazy adventure, you should take it, because you never know what’s gonna come out of it.”