WNBA's Las Vegas Aces get stuck in travel nightmare: 'A meal and a bed will suffice.'

As any commuter knows, flying can be a hassle due to weather, mechanical issues and any other problem on a long list of things that can go wrong in aviation. It’s an annoying inconvenience for any traveler trying to get anywhere, but when it happens to an entire WNBA team trying to get to a game while in the thick of the playoff race, it becomes much more than that. And that’s exactly what happened to the Las Vegas Aces on Thursday night and into Friday morning.

The Aces play the Washington Mystics on Friday night

The Aces were originally planning on flying out of Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon, in time to get a practice in on Friday before their matchup with the Washington Mystics on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET.

The issues started there, when the flight they were supposed to take endured several delays. The plane was delayed so many times, the Aces decided to start finding productive ways to entertain themselves. Moriah Jefferson and Lindsay Allen registered to vote, according to teammate Carolyn Swords.

Eventually the team took an overnight flight to get to Dallas, where they were met with a layover of two-and-a-half hours. The plane out of Dallas was delayed, too, though, and most of the players tried to squeeze in a few hours of shut-eye.

The WNBA canceled the game

The Aces did eventually leave Dallas, and they arrived in Washington, D.C. by the mid-afternoon. Overall, it’s been about 24 exhausting hours of travel for a flight that normally takes only four-and-a-half hours. It’s an brutal process, and certainly not a safe one.

WNBA players don’t fly charter flights like their NBA counterparts do. That creates situations such as these, as it’s much more difficult to find efficient alternate routing for an entire team, coaching staff and other assistants on a commercial plane.

The WNBA initially moved the game from 7 p.m. ET to 8 p.m. ET, though the game was then canceled just hours later.

The Aces are 1.5 games out of the playoffs

Led by rookie sensation A’ja Wilson, the Aces (12-14) have won six of their last eight games and sit just a game-and-a-half back of the Dallas Wings for the eighth and final seed in the WNBA playoffs. Their opponent Friday night, the Mystics (15-11), sit fifth in the standings and were already going to be a tough task. The Aces will have to try to continue their momentum with most of their players on a few hours of uncomfortable sleep.

It’s a difficult and unfortunate situation all around. The Aces are fighting for a playoff berth, and they are one of the top emerging teams in an emerging league. It’s a really tough ask to have them play after this fiasco. It’s also hard to completely rearrange the schedule, logistically, with just hours’ notice. Plus, the team has five games in the next nine days, so moving the game back a day would only mean the Aces would have to play in Washington, D.C. on Saturday and then in Connecticut the following day.

The Aces’ social team had fun with the situation

While it’s been a whirlwind past 24 hours for Las Vegas, the team’s social media team handled it extremely well.

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A’ja Wilson and the Aces got caught in a difficult travel day that included multiple delays. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day via AP)
A’ja Wilson and the Aces got caught in a difficult travel day that included multiple delays. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day via AP)