Multiple teams will be using multiple planes to travel this year

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It’s a new era in the NFL for travel, and changes to plane availability have resulted in multiple teams switching from one plane to two for road trips.

PFT has learned that at least three teams will be using two planes this year: The Steelers, Bills, and Dolphins. (We became aware of the issue via a report from Andy Slater of  WINZ regarding the Dolphins using two planes.)

The Bills will be using two planes for most trips, but not of all of them.

Earlier this year, several teams had to scramble to find air service when American restricted access. As one league source recently explained it to PFT, the airlines simply have realized that they can make more money by using planes in more traditional ways.

It’s odd to see the NFL at the mercy of the airline industry, because usually it’s pretty much everyone else who’s at the mercy of the NFL. This has sparked some speculation that perhaps the best play for the league would be to maintain its own fleet of planes that would transport teams each and every weekend, when up to 16 teams travel. The planes then would be leased for use in the offseason to corporate groups and muckety-mucks who want to travel in a bird bedazzled with NFL logos.

If/when a non-mainstream outfit like Miami Air (all due respect) fails to get the Dolphins or Steelers to a game on time, that could be the trigger for change. Until then, the new normal will include lesser availability, greater expense, and in some cities multiple aircraft.

19 responses to “Multiple teams will be using multiple planes to travel this year

  1. Owning their own planes is the worst idea ever. Maintenance and legal liability will be a nightmare. Why would the NFL spend hundreds of millions for the convenience of their players. They don’t care how the players get to the stadium as long as they get there in time for kickoff.

  2. The FAA is bad enough at ensuring passenger safety and plane maintenance. if you let a moron like Goodell run it there’d be a crash every other week.

  3. The FAA is bad enough at ensuring passenger safety and plane maintenance. if you let a moron like Goodell run it there’d be a crash every other week.


    The proof is in the pudding… When was the last time a passenger jet crashed in the US? And there are how many flights per day?

  4. I’m curious where the speculation on the NFL fleet of planes came from. Sounds a lot like a post I made here back when this was first announced and I doubt I’m the source. I hope they do it – makes sense. Any links?

  5. The issue for the NFL isn’t getting the planes, if they wanted to own/lease their own, there are many available all the time.

    The issue is flight crews… keeping 16 + 2 backup crews on ‘lockdown’ from September – January is almost impossible at $250k per pilot // 150k for a flight engineer // 100k for other crew plus the daily cost that airports charge for landing fees / electricity/ loading and unloading (that’s a UNION job in most cities) and the per-diem cost to house the crews in hotels w/meals and cars and other percs while the team is on the road.

  6. Pictured: Tom Brady and his three favorite wide receivers getting a lift from the Blue Angels

  7. Why doesnt each team just own their own plane like in the NBA?

    Each NBA team does not own it’s own plane. The airline my wife flies for flies at least 3 of them around. Same with the NHL.

  8. Stephen Ross has a net worth over 27B, he can afford to buy a plane for team travel however an owner like Marc Davis may need airline skymiles.

  9. Gonzaga, a college basketball team, travels via charter jet to all their away games. The jet is super nice. Is the NFL so broke it’s teams can’t afford something similar?

    Each team should buy their own plane.

  10. Yeah, right, the league can’t find the money to put cameras on the goal lines for every game but they’ll pony up for a fleet of planes.

  11. The NFL teams can afford planes, but they love corporate welfare, including stadiums. As far as safety is concerned, that’s not an issue. There are tons of private planes and companies with them.

    I’m surprised it’s taken this long for them to finally get their own, rather than chartering. All teams have a personal plane for the owner.

    But it is refreshing to see one corporate giant (American Airlines) stand up to another giant.

  12. Just buy the damn jets and pay for it by eliminating Thursday night football.

  13. The NFL teams will buy their own planes once they realize the tax advantages of doing so.

    737-700 is large enough for the team I’d think and according to various sources – costs about 3000 an hour to fly (crew and fuel).

    San Diego to London is about 11 hours and probably the longest flight they’d have.

    Think that an NFL team would blink at a 33k operating expense for one week?

  14. Folks saying the league should buy a fleet are imbecilic. The same league that doesn’t want to pay for stadiums, medical studies, etc., etc. does not want to purchase planes and pay the costs. They use that team plane 8 weeks and then have to find other uses for the other 44 weeks.

  15. The censorship on this site is amazing, if a post doesn’t incite anger, debate or continuance of the intended storyline, it is simply erased. I’ll try again, who cares what happens before or after the game?

  16. “The FAA is bad enough at ensuring passenger safety and plane maintenance”

    Just because you say it doesn’t make it true.

    We have the safest skies and planes on the planet.

    If there is bad maintenance going on, its being done by the airlines, who want to police themselves by privatizing the FAA.

    Its crazy talk, just like your comment.

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