United Airlines is flying charters for 23 major college football teams this year, including LSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, according to an airline employee newsletter.
Like Major League Baseball teams, college teams fly on regular United planes with typical configurations. However, football teams and their entourages are large, so they sometimes fly on widebody aircraft. Most of those aircraft have flat-bed seats in first and business class, so at least some members of the travel party can fly in style. [For more on charter economics for airlines, read this 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal.]
United is the official airline of five of these teams - Northwestern University (your blogger's alma mater), Baylor University, Oklahoma State University, UCLA and the University of Oklahoma.
All of the other teams listed here are solely United charter customers, so there's no marketing relationship:
- Baylor University
- University of Colorado
- Indiana University
- Louisiana State University (LSU)
- Northwestern University
- Ohio State University
- Oklahoma State University
- Penn State University
- Rutgers University
- Stanford University
- Texas A&M University
- Texas Tech University
- Tulane University
- University of California
- University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
- University of Houston
- University of Maryland
- University of Nebraska
- University of Oklahoma
- University of Oregon
- University of Texas
- University of Texas at San Antonio
- University of Southern California
In addition, United will fly one trip for Army football. Here's a shot from a 2013 Army football trip.
Of course, not every team gets such a cushy ride. Look at Mississippi State on the way to its 2012 bowl game!