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War Eagle Air: Three-hour delay turns Phoenix-bound plane into Auburn pep rally

Grace Byrd Morris, left, and Victoria Cumbow, far right, pose for a photo with other Auburn fans aboard United Flight 29.

Dozens of Auburn fans aboard US Airways Flight 29 flying from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport stretched their War Eagle Moment into a three hour pep rally early Friday afternoon… before they even left the runway.

Stuck in a situation ripe for gripes, Auburn alumni Victoria Cumbow and Grace Byrd Morris, and other BCS Championship-bound passengers, instead passed the time waiting for their plane to be cleared for take off with chants of “Bodda Getta” and “It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger,” rocking the cabin of the packed A320 as if it were a chartered Auburn bus.

TWER was alerted of the situation thanks to the magic of Twitter: “The plane just did ‘Bodda Getta.'” tweeted Cumbow, who currently works as the crime and public safety reporter for The Huntsville Times.. “Now that’s what I’m talking about!! War Eagle!!”

When we re-tweeted her fewer-than-140 characters report to our followers, Grace Byrd Morris (’95) quickly replied: “@wareaglereader I think they were talking about me. I’m the one leading the cheers on this plane!”

We interviewed both Morris and Cumbow via Twitter as they waited for take off.

Morris, who wore a No. 2 Cam Newton jersey on the flight, even split the aisles of the Airbus into cheers of “Orange” and “Blue”.

“They were very responsive,” tweeted Morris, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Auburn. “We have an enthusiastic group of AU fans on board.”

How enthusiastic? The three sitting behind her didn’t even have tickets.

“One is a student hoping that a student [who purchased a ticket for pickup in Phoenix] doesn’t show,” Morris said. “The other two are planning to try to buy [tickets] when they get there.”

If they ever got there: what was once a 30 minute minute delay extended to hours due to mechanical problems with the plane’s engine.

“I’m starting to wonder if this pilot is an Oregon fan,” Morris tweeted. “We’re hoping they can fix the engine with a little Cammy Cam juice.”

At least one person on board was pulling for Oregon.

“Only opposition came as we were boarding and greeted a flight attendant with ‘War Eagle’,” Cumbow wrote in an email sent from the plane. “She responded with, ‘I’m sorry, but Go Ducks.'”

But the Auburn Spirit quickly won the crew over; Cumbow said the patience and politeness of the passengers — she estimated that 95 percent were Auburn fans —  almost moved one amazed and thankful flight attendant to tears.

“Ma’am,” Cumbow replied. “That’s the Auburn way.”

Flight 29 landed safely in Phoenix at 4:24 MST.

[UPDATE: Grace Byrd Morris on one-woman mission to spark Auburn Spirit in Scottsdale]

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