SXSW-Bound Travelers Get Liquored Up, Rowdy on Delta-UTA Shuttle

Party Plane - H 2015

Party Plane - H 2015

After being given free margaritas and tequila as they boarded the plane, some passengers were out of their seats midflight as they networked and danced in the aisles.

This story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

After shuttling insiders to Sundance in January, Delta and UTA again teamed up ahead of SXSW to transport a group of techies. But the Delta Festival Shuttle to Austin was a bit rowdier. Passengers were greeted with free margaritas and mini bottles of tequila, and midway through the flight, people were out of their seats "networking" — some even dancing in the aisles.

Delta vp sales Ranjan Goswami says, "Our goal was to create a shared experience for decision makers, and I think we did that." But before UTA reached out to such digital movers and shakers as Disney Techstars' Cody Simms, a handful of passengers already had booked themselves onto the flight — Funny or Die’s Betsy Koch and Brian Toombs were two of the unsuspecting. "I've never had such a pleasant shock in a travel situation," says Toombs. "It was like being told, 'Actually your flight has been upgraded to rager.' "