(NewsNation) — What began as a fun trip for a Texas high school teacher and his students ended with them being stranded in Japan and having to take a 48-hour trip around the world to return home.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Trevor Boffone, a Spanish teacher, was one of the trip’s chaperones, which included a nine-day tour of Japan hosted by EF Tours. His TikTok videos detailing the chaotic trip garnered millions of views.
Boffone and his students flew with American Airlines and its partner, Japan Airlines. However, when the group arrived at the Osaka International Airport for its departure, it was told it had a reservation — but no booking.
“They tried, they really tried hard to get us on that flight,” Boffone said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.” “But there was no space, and they had no tickets, and so we ended up getting stuck.”
American Airlines, Boffone said, was slow to help the travelers. Boffone said it took the company about ten hours to even reach out to them.
“They said that it had to be the group booking office that worked with us,” Boffone said. “That meant we had to wait until it opened in the United States.”
That meant another 10-hour wait. When they finally talked to someone at American Airlines, the company’s first solution was a flight that wouldn’t be for another 12 days.
Once the tour company, EF, found out about this, it jumped into action, according to Boffone. It took about 24 hours for them to rebook flights home. Going home became its own journey as well, with the teacher and students taking a trip from Osaka to Bangkok, Thailand, then to Munich, Germany. The students and Boffone arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, after that, which was their last stop before going home to Houston.
This unplanned, 48-hour detour “wasn’t ideal,” Boffone admitted, though they made the best of it.
“At that point, we were just excited to be able to go home and it kind of sounded fun. I mean, around the world trip. Sounds fun. But this was not the fun way to do it,” he said.
American Airlines did not reply to a request for comment by publication time. A representative for EF Tours told Insider its “booking records have always designated the group’s flights as confirmed in our system.”
“We regret that the group’s flights were disrupted due to what appears to have been a booking miscommunication between American Airlines and Japan Airlines,” the tour group representative told Insider.
Since returning to the United States, Boffone is still jet-lagged.
“I have been sleeping at weird hours,” he said. “I am so exhausted. I don’t want to do anything.”
Had it just been Boffone affected, he says he would have been fine. Being with 31 other people made things more difficult.
“We had to wait for enough space for all of us to fit on a flight,” Boffone said. “We had to find hotels for 31 people last minute. It was a fiasco.”
Still, he learned a valuable lesson from this all this.
“Be patient,” Boffone said. “Eat your snacks, drink your drinks, and try to get as much sleep as possible.”