Does your favorite NFL football team fly United Airlines?
United said recently is is flying nearly half of the NFL, so there's a good chance that your favorite team is flying the friendly skies. Here's the full list of United's NFL customers.
- Buffalo Bills
- Chicago Bears
- Cleveland Browns
- Denver Broncos
- Detroit Lions
- Houston Texans
- Kansas City Chiefs
- New Orleans Saints
- New York Giants
- New York Jets
- San Francisco 49ers
- St. Louis Rams
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tennessee Titans
- Washington Redskins
United is a big-time player in the sports market. As I have mentioned earlier, United is flying 23 major college NCAA teams this season, including LSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska and USC. It is also the official charter airline for 13 major league baseball teams, among them, the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nations.
NFL players often get a cushier ride than Major League Baseball players. Baseball teams usually charter Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 aircraft, and those airplanes don't have lie-flat seats, even in first class. Baseball players tend to take one row in coach.
But NFL teams, with larger traveling parties, typically fly on widebody aircraft like the Boeing 767. Those planes usually have lie-flat seats in business and first class. Not every player can have a premium class seat, but many of the more well known NFL players tend to get the good seats.
You may wonder why teams don't use fancier airplanes. Some do - baseball's San Francisco Giants used a special Boeing 757 this season with 90 first class seats - but it's often more practical to contract with Delta, United or American. Major airlines are logistically prepared for the charter business. They can get an airplane anywhere the team wants at any time. And if the plane breaks, they can swap for another one. If you're relying on a charter company with one or two planes, that can get dicey, especially when you must be in the next city for a game.
What's it like to travel as an NFL Team? The Denver Post had a nice story about the logistics involved a couple of years ago.
"United, which has chartered the Broncos flights for about 25 years, tailors everything about the flight to the requests of team management — from the routing decisions to the departure time of flight UA1825 to the food options to the seating chart," the Post said.
Whether for baseball or football, the food choices tend to be much better than what you receive on a regular flight.
Got a story tip? Or a comment to share? I try to publish a post every day, and I'm always looking for story ideas. Please contact me. This link goes directly to my email.
Looking for more stories? Try these: