Thanks to Delta, WNBA players finally fly private

by Alice

Delta Air Lines has stepped up its support for the WNBA by announcing a majority of game flights will now be chartered for the players, marking a significant shift in travel arrangements for the league.

The WNBA’s league-wide charter program is set to be rolled out at the commencement of the 2024 regular season, beginning officially on May 14th. This initiative marks a notable departure from past practices, as previously only select instances, such as back-to-back games, warranted charter flights, as reported by ESPN.


The decision to implement a comprehensive private charter program follows heightened attention on the league, particularly with rising stars like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese joining the professional ranks. The exposure intensified after footage surfaced of the Indiana Fever, Clark’s team, boarding a commercial flight to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport for a game, sparking discussions around private travel.


Expressing enthusiasm for the initiative, Clark conveyed her excitement, emphasizing the benefits it brings in terms of ease of travel and recovery for players. Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, echoed this sentiment, expressing the airline’s pride in partnering with the WNBA and supporting this significant stride in women’s professional sports.


However, specifics regarding the commencement of these private flights remain undisclosed. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert affirmed the league’s commitment to prioritizing players’ needs and highlighted ongoing efforts to establish a sustainable economic model to support charter flights in the long term.

While the program is anticipated to incur an annual cost of approximately $25 million for the next two seasons, according to ESPN, it underscores the league’s dedication to advancing player welfare and elevating the standard of women’s professional basketball.



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