The WNBA made a step forward this season when it comes to the charter flights its players desire, allowing private planes for the playoffs and back-to-back games.
The asterisk was revealed Wednesday.
In a memo obtained by The Next's Howard Megdal, the WNBA told teams this week that some of them actually won't be able to use charter flights for all their postseason travel. As the league explained it, teams who win a series on the road and have their next series begin on the road will be allowed only one charter flight between cities.
Basically, some teams will have to choose between flying directly from one road series to the other with no trip home, or taking one commercial flight in addition to their charter flight.
Here's how the WNBA memo laid it out:
“Between rounds, Teams will have the option to charter from the home market or directly to Game 1 of the following round (only one route permitted, not both). Therefore, teams will need to plan their own commercial flight)s) if and when necessary, depending on their choice.”
“Example hypothetical scenario: if a Team wins Rd 1 in a sweep, and they have a week before their next game. Under the above scenario, the team is only granted 1 charter (either from Rd 1 city to home OR home to Semis OR Rd 1 city to Semis Game 1 city.) Therefore, this choice could result in a route being commercial (which would be reimbursed per Playoff reimbursement policy).”
The WNBA has taken steps forward this year when it comes to the one thing its players are constantly pushing for, but they have not been full steps. Teams were allowed to book charter flights, as long as it was through one specific company open to the public. Brittney Griner apparently had the green light to fly charter, but somehow got harassed while flying commercial out of Dallas.
And now the promise for postseason charter flights, which commissioner Cathy Engelbert said would cover "the full playoffs" is getting slightly walked back.
Predictably many in the WNBA didn't take the news well, as you can see in the collection of quotes from The Next:
“Doesn’t make sense! Really?!?”
“You came out and said you were going to have charter travel for the playoffs,” one aggravated team official told The Next. “Now you say, charters, with asterisks, unless this happens.”
“Full playoffs should mean there are no commercial flights,” another team official told The Next. “No ‘fine print.’ I couldn’t believe it when I read the memo. A bunch of stipulations.”
“You’re trying to do the whole thing,” another team official said to The Next. “Go all the way!”
We'll see if the WNBA changes course any time soon.