The WNBA’s complicated travel arrangements for players are under fire once again.
Sky coach James Wade revealed following the team’s 79-68 Game 2 semifinal loss to the Connecticut Sun that the team would be up less than six hours later for a 3:30 a.m. departure to the airport. Additionally, the team would be divided between three separate flights in order to get back to Chicago.
Sun coach Curt Miller’s situation was largely the same: the Sun will also be taking three flights to get to Chicago but from two separate airports, in order to avoid sitting in middle seats.
“That’s what this league goes through,” Miller said postgame. “That’s what these amazing women, the best in the world, go through.”
The league’s latest collective bargaining agreement stipulates that “all air travel provided by the Team will be…premium economy.” While this is a slight step up from the requirement that players travel coach in the previous CBA, it prevents teams from providing charter flights to teams — even during the WNBA playoffs.
It’s not the Sky’s first travel issue in this year’s playoffs. After their 89-76 win against the Minnesota Lynx in the second round, the team had to catch an 8 a.m. (CT) flight the next morning to Connecticut. Instead of recovering, they spent their day off traveling.
Once again, instead of spending time recovering in preparation for a 1 p.m. ET tipoff on Sunday, players will be traveling.
“We wish we could charter (a flight),” Sun guard Jasmine Thomas said. “That’s something that’s been in conversation for years is being able to do that especially during the playoffs. But because we can’t, we just got to take it. Both teams are going to go through similar things so it’s not something you can really complain about.”