Short turnarounds in the WNBA Finals, cross-country travel show the importance of charter flights

LAS VEGAS – It’s moving to Uncasville, Connecticut, as the WNBA Finals travel all the way across the country for game 3 and potentially 4 game. Connecticut Sun And Las Vegas Aces will do this via charter flights.

Commissioner Kathy Engelbert announced in her 2022 All-Star Address that the league will provide charters throughout the Finals, something she hasn’t done other than for unique situations. Teams fly commercially all season and off season, which is a perpetual nightmare and frustration that could have been ugly this week with such brief turnarounds.

There is one rest day between Game Two on Tuesday in Las Vegas and Game Three on Thursday in Connecticut and 2,659 miles separate the two arenas. Complicating matters further, the sun doesn’t play in a city that has an airport and its closest major hub is Boston, roughly a two-hour drive away. The The sun has already hired Twice in this postseason, including one after the semi-final series went the full distance.

“It was great for us, especially getting out of Game 5,” Sun striker Bonner’s office Yahoo Sports said. “[The Aces] They were able to close their chain a little before us, so we’ll have a few days [in Las Vegas] It was nice.”

The issue of charter flights often ends up par excellence, but for professional athletes, it puts them in the best position to perform at the highest level for themselves, teammates and fans.

“It makes a huge difference, especially for someone as tall as me,” striker Sun Jonquil Jones Yahoo Sports said. “Sometimes you get on planes and are really packed, and by the time you get off the recovery starts again. Knowing we have quick transitions with games and being able to get a massage before that and still feel the benefits that getting off the plane will feel better.”

There is an ease in chartered flying that does not exist with commercial flights. Professional athletes suffer from the same types of headaches as a daily commuter and possibly more due to their height (Boneer is 6ft 4in, 6ft 6ft) and distinct condition (people love Aja Wilson).

For those traveling from Vegas to Connecticut to follow the series, there weren’t many options. There may have been one or two non-stop trips in Providence, Rhode Island, or Hartford, Connecticut. Each is between 45 minutes to an hour’s drive from the stadium. Monday’s survey showed one flight at 5:25 a.m. PT that landed in Providence at 3 p.m. ET. Most of them were early in the morning until late at night. Then there is an adjustment with the time difference to consider.

Instead of tackling a single day in and out of the planes, the Sun and Aces flew on separate pacts right after the second game.

Las Vegas Ice players gather on the field after the team's 85-71 win over the Connecticut Sun in Game Two of the 2022 WNBA Finals at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas on September 13, 2022 (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Las Vegas Ice players crowd the field after the team beat the Connecticut Sun 85-71 in Game Two of the 2022 WNBA Finals at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas on September 13, 2022. They flew from Las Vegas aboard the charter flight, their first of the season, live. after their victory on Tuesday. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“This way we get there at I don’t know, 6 a.m. their time and we get a full day to sleep and rest and we get a full day in Connecticut to get another night of EST,” said Aces point guard Chelsea Gray.

Rest and recovery were among the top things every Yahoo Sports player talked about the usefulness of the charter. Anyone who has flown all day knows the exhaustion it carries. Imagine playing top-notch basketball in 24 hours after months of an intense schedule of airports and games.

“Right now, it’s the end of the season,” aces goalkeeper Jackie Young 2022 Best Improved PlayerYahoo Sports. “I think comfort is the most important thing.”

The sun also benefited from a charter in The first round of qualifying when both And the Dallas wards struggled to get out of town in a three-day turnaround. The WNBA stepped in at short notice to obtain the charters due to the difficulty.

“I was impressed how they were able to do this, frankly, in the space of two hours to activate two charter flights,” Peter Finney, Sun basketball operations coordinator, told Yahoo Sports.

Vinny does engage a travel agent to help book and rebook flights, but it still takes a “significant part” of his day to do that. It can also trigger other changes, such as staying an extra night in a hotel down the road. He said the 2021 season was the toughest, but this year it still faces challenges with cancellations and delays.

The first round 3 match was a “nightmare” which he seems happy to avoid again. Wings’ flight on match night has already been canceled and Sun has been booked for the morning. It was on its way to Boston airport when it was cancelled. That was when you entered the league, but not everyone could participate in the game’s operations. Nor the equipment. So booked the rest for the next day on two flights. One was at 6:55 a.m., but the group got off the plane due to a maintenance issue.

“each of us [equipment] The bags were on that flight, so we couldn’t get everyone on that flight because we had to stay with the bags,” Vinny said.

They arrived around 1pm local time and the team was unable to train. That won’t be the case with pre-planned charters this week. It will be the same short shift between Game 4 on Sunday and Game 5 on Tuesday, if necessary.

Commercial flights have caused a lot of trouble to their peers across the league, and players have borne the brunt of the impact. Los Angeles Sparks had to do it Sleeping at the airport Last month because of that and aces lost a game in 2018 against the Washington Mystics due to a tough travel day and a late arrival in the area.

The league does not allow teams to charter flights as stipulated in the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The team is seen as a competitive advantage to use when others aren’t, although team owners like Mark Davis of Aces and Joe Tsai of New York Liberty are able and willing to do so. Tsai was fined a record $500,000 to use charter flights in the 2021 regular season.

It’s a problem that Aces coach Becky Hammon said during the All-Star weekend is a “glaring issue” that she’d like to see “immediately change.” Engelbert said it would be nice to use the charters, but at the $20 million price point, that would “jeopardize the league’s financial health” at this time.

Introducing charters to the Finals may not seem like much, but it’s a huge step toward the continued growth of the WNBA and its financial coffers. Just like every pivotal game on the field this week, little moments matter.

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