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wnba flight upgrades - Private Or Charter Jet

Source: NORRIE3699 / Getty

The new season of the Women’s National Basketball Association takes flight with a long awaited perk. Chartered planes.

Since its inception in June 1997, teams in the WNBA have had to travel on commercial flights. Schlepping through crowded airports with luggage and dealing with possible delays is a hassle for any traveler. Add to that being vertically-blessed public figures of the league and you’ve got a stressful situation not conducive to a game day win.

The charter flight program began this week, foreshadowing a continued league-wide winning streak.

Indiana Fever guard, Erica Wheeler, celebrated the upgrade on social media with a video of herself and team mates enjoying the comfort of a private flight.

 

Preeminent sports charterer, Delta Air Lines, will be primarily operating the program.

“It’s exciting to add the WNBA to our prestigious roster of sports charter partners as we participate in this historic advancement in women’s professional sports,” said Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines. “We’re looking forward to providing the WNBA with the welcoming, caring and elevated service that Delta people have made famous.”

Previously, with the exception of “special instances” like back-to-back games, the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship, post-season games, and the finals, chartering a plane was simply forbidden. The organization said the “groundbreaking initiative” marks a significant milestone in the WNBA’s history. It credits the successful execution to the league’s strategic business transformation over the past few years.

In 2022, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told ESPN that though much desired, shelling out an estimated $20 million for league-wide charters was not feasible. “This is something that we’re not going to jeopardize the financial health of the league and be irresponsible about. If we can get it funded by sponsors and supporters, great, but that’s not where we are,” she said.

Today, she shares her excitement about that hope becoming a reality. “We have been hard at work to transform the business and build a sustainable economic model to support charter flights for the long term. While we still have a lot of work to do to continue to execute our strategic plan, we feel confident that the time is now to institute a full charter program to demonstrate our commitment to leading with a player-first agenda.”

Seattle Storm forward and WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike, thanked the league’s decision-makers on behalf of all players for the new accommodations. “I am thrilled to see a significant change in policy that will permit,” she said. “On behalf of the players, I express my appreciation and support for a bold move by the Commissioner and team governors that in turn shows that they understand and value the health and safety of the players. It is time to be transformational. It’s time to bet on women.”

The WNBA has had to navigate the difficult task of maintaining excellence while working with remarkably less compared to the men’s league. The steep difference in compensation of the two league’s most recent number one picks, Caitlin Clark (WNBA 2024) and Victor Wembanyama (NBA 2023) displays the rift clearly. Both signed four-year rookie contracts, but Clark’s was worth $338,000 and Wembanyama’s, $55.2 million.

The ability to offer private chartered flights to all teams is a great feat worth celebrating.

WNBA Players Score Major Victory With Elevated Travel Experience  was originally published on elev8.com