And most of the team never even knew it.
The team's Charter 747 was just seconds away from touching down when it was ordered to abort the landing and go around for another attempt. The reason: an American Airlines flight that had been given clearance to take off on the same runway.
Here is the conversation on air traffic control radios, as the American pilot called the tower with his concern about the approaching Phillies flight:
American 1209: That guy on final looks awfully close
Tower: Alright, American 1209 hold short of runway 27-right
American 1209: Actually, we just past the hold-short line
Tower: American 1209, CROSS runway 27-right
American 1209: Cross 27-right, American 1209
Tower: American 1209, no delay! Cross runway 27-right
American 1209: We're not gonna make it, American 1209
Tower: Delta 8891, can you take the sidestep to 27-left?
Delta 8891: Negative
Tower: Delta 8801, go around! Climb and maintain 3,000, fly runway heading
Delta 8891: Roger that
Unknown Voice: Wow!
The air traffic controllers apologized to the Phillies pilot after he finally touched down.