Cottonwood students finally return home, after 737 plane groundings resulted in stranding in DC

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- It was home at last for a group of middle school students from Cottonwood, after they were stranded in Washington due to the FAA's decision to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.

The planes were grounded in the aftermath of two crashes, the most recent one in Ethiopia. The Cottonwood teens traveled to Washington D.C. a week ago to see the sights in the capital. They were supposed to fly home on Friday, but the Boeing 737 MAX 8 groundings disrupted that plan.

After several delays and cancellations, the group was forced to drive to Baltimore. Then, they flew to Sacramento, to Seattle, and then, finally, to Phoenix.

The 11-hour plane ride finally ended late Monday night, and it was a moment Yolanda Matthews waited three excruciatingly long days for.

"I was really worried for my daughter, and they're all kids, and it was just a scary situation," said Matthews. Her daughter Paris was one of nearly two dozen students on the trip.

"They just wanted to go home," said Paris. "A lot of kids called their moms and cried. We just wanted to go home."

"It was awful. Not gonna lie," said student Hailey Robinson.

Hailey, along with her sibling Hunter, were on the trip together. They say on Sunday, their group boarded a plane and thought they were headed home, but plans changed.

"We sat and we waited for 45 minutes, 'cause there was a maintenance delay with the air conditioner," said Hailey. "And then, we got on the plane and then we got like 20 feet out and they had another maintenance issue, so we sat on the plane for an hour."

Everyone was then taken off the plane, and a new flight booked out of Baltimore booked for the next day.

"I think they should have been more accommodating with these kids," said Matthews. "There's 22 kids. 13, 14-year-olds."

The teens finally landed at Sky Harbor at around 10:45 p.m. Monday.

"I'm happy she's home. I'm really happy. I miss her. She's safe. That's what matters," said Matthews. "She's gonna sleep, and I'm probably going to make her her favorite meal."