WNBA Backtracks On Promise Of Charter Flights For All Postseason Travel
The WNBA will not provide chartered flights for all postseason travel during the WNBA playoffs, according to a memo sent to teams recently.
In the memo obtained by NextHoops.com, the WNBA told teams this week that they won’t be able to use chartered flights for all postseason travel. If a team wins a series on the road and their next series is set to begin on the road, they will be allowed just one charter flight between cities.
In other words, some teams will have to choose between flying from one road series to another without stopping at home in between, or taking one commercial flight and one charter flight between going home and to the next series.
“Between rounds, teams will have the option to charter from the home market or directly to Game 1 of the following round (only one route permitted, not both). Therefore, teams will need to plan their own commercial flight(s) if and when necessary, depending on their choice,” the WNBA memo states, according to Yahoo.
WNBA players have been pushing for chartered flights for years, but the league says that since some franchise owners cannot afford them, it would create an unfair advantage for teams that are able to pay for chartered flights. The league has also tried to find an airline to sponsor chartered flights for the season, but has been unsuccessful. Last year, New York Liberty Owner Joe Tsai was fined $500,000 for allowing his team to travel on chartered flights.
According to the Associated Press, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in April that during the playoffs, flights would be chartered; she also repeated the claim at several points during this season.
The AP previously reported that the cost for all the private flights for the year would be around $4.5 million.
The league has occasionally stepped in to pay for chartered flights across multiple time zones, including for the Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury in between Games 2 and 3 of the 2021 Finals.
The WNBA playoffs are set to start Sept. 13. Many are expecting a WNBA Finals matchup between The New York Liberty, who are currently 26-7, and the reigning WNBA champions, the Las Vegas Aces (30-6), who are trying to become the league’s third team to repeat as champions.
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