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WNBA Players Say Goodbye to Cramped Commercial Flights, League Commits to Charter Planes – Hoopfeed.com


After years of player advocacy and fan pressure, the WNBA is making a major change in team travel. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced the league’s commitment to providing full-time charter flights for all WNBA teams starting this season, according to the Associated Press.

“The goal is to provide a full-time charter flight service for the upcoming season,” Engelbert stated during a meeting with Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE). “The logistics are being finalized as quickly as possible.”

This move represents a significant financial investment for the WNBA, estimated at around $25 million per year for the next two seasons. Previous charter flight usage was limited to playoffs and back-to-back away games.

Factors Driving the Decision

Several factors propelled this change for the WNBA:

  • Player Safety and Well-being: The league highlights increased comfort and convenience for players as a significant factor in moving to a charter flight system.
  • Brittney Griner Incident: Griner faced harassment while traveling through a Dallas airport as well as social media heckling after being detained in Russia for about 10 months.
  • Rising League Popularity: The WNBA is experiencing a surge in popularity, fueled by captivating rookies like Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, and Cameron Brink. This increased attention likely influenced the league’s ability to invest in charter flights.

However, this increase in the league’s profile means increased ticket sales and the ability to make a move towards private flights a reality.

What This Means for WNBA Players

  • More comfortable, less stressful travel: A significant perk after grueling seasons and the upcoming truncated scheduling season due to the Olympic break.
  • Potential for improved game-day performance: Less exhaustion means better play.
  • Elevated image for the league: Charter flights are expected to improve the overall experience for players and enhance the image of the WNBA, placing it on a more equal footing with other major sports leagues.

Fans are happy with the change. Many expressed that the WNBA has been flying commercial for too long, and they want their favorite players to experience the convenience and comfort that charter flights provide.

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