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WNBA says all teams will fly charters to games by May 21 after the program’s rough rollout

The WNBA’s rollout of their new charter flight program has not gone as smoothly as it could have, but the situation will be rectified within the week.

After some teams had to take commercial flights for their first few games, a WNBA spokesperson told The Athletic on Thursday all teams will fly with charters for their away games from May 21. The only exceptions are the Chicago Sky-Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun-New York Liberty games, which involve bus rides due to proximity.

The W announced last week that a charter flight program would be phased in at the start of the season, meaning these professional sports teams would no longer have to rely on commercial flights to get to their games. That’s a huge shift for a league that until earlier this month wouldn’t allow any team owners to pay for charter flights because the league considered it an unfair advantage.

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Unfortunately, the WNBA promised more than it could deliver. Not all teams started the season with charters. Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever flew privately for their first games, while Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky flew commercially. The disparity was glaring, especially considering the WNBA’s previous stance on charter flights: If not all teams got them, it was an unfair advantage.

The WNBA got the backlash they rightly deserved for rushing the rollout instead of waiting until every team could use charter flights. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert was forced to hold a town hall with players so she could give them clarity on the future schedule. Chicago Sky Center Elizabeth Williams, who spoke with Annie Costabile of the Chicago Sun-Times, said the league is prioritizing flights across the country or across multiple time zones over all others.

Shortly after the WNBA released a statement to The Athletic, Washington Post basketball writer Kareem Copeland reported that the Washington Mystics commercial flight to Connecticut the Suns were almost an hour late to play.

For the WNBA players still stuck in the flying commercial, May 21 can’t come soon enough.

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