The Airline Business Is So Good U.S. Carriers Are Dropping NFL Charter Flights
The Denver Broncos arrive at Super Bowl 50 in 2016. Denver is keeping its relationship with United Airlines, but some NFL teams are losing their charter agreements with airlines. Charlie Riedel / Associated Press
Some NFL teams may have to alter their travel schedules as airlines balk at providing charter flights.
Others seem to have little or no concern.
Several airlines have indicated they are either diminishing their presence in the charter flight area or are shifting those planes to commercial flights. The Pittsburgh Steelers say they are one of the clubs told that American Airlines has ended their charter agreement.
“We are in the process of figuring out what charter or airline service we will be utilizing this upcoming season,” team spokesman Burt Lauten told The Associated Press.
American also is dropping charters for the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals for the upcoming season.
But American, which has a hub in Dallas, is not dropping the Cowboys. It also is continuing its partnership with the Carolina Panthers.
The Denver Broncos say there are no changes in their arrangement with United Airlines.
The Cardinals said: “We are confident that our air travel needs will be met and (American’s withdrawal) won’t affect our plans in any way.”
While many other teams say their charter transportation situations are status quo, several would not comment when asked by the AP.
The NFC champion Atlanta Falcons said they have not been informed of any changes in their agreement with Delta. The airline is based in Atlanta, so dropping the Falcons wouldn’t be a particularly popular move by Delta.
San Francisco noted it makes travel arrangements once the league schedule is announced; that announcement will be on Thursday night.
The decisions by the airlines originally were reported in the blog One Mile at a Time, which also identified which teams have affiliations with what airlines. According to the site, United has 15, American has nine, Delta has eight and Hawaiian has one (Oakland). Tampa Bay was listed as participating with Delta and United.
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