The discussion of charter travel for WNBA teams is heating up.
Private air travel is a focus of free-agent conversations in the league, according to ESPN, as Phoenix Mercury player Brittney Griner — who was detained in Russia last year — will likely need to fly private for safety concerns.
If she does, the WNBA would need to decide how to go forward with charter travel — the league currently doesn’t allow charter flights.
- Cost estimates for all teams traveling charter are close to $30 million — an amount the WNBA can’t afford. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert previously said that she wouldn’t “jeopardize the health of the league” with charter flights.
- Even if an individual team has enough money to fly charter, it isn’t allowed to unless all 12 teams can afford it — the New York Liberty were fined $500,000 for secretly chartering flights during the 2022 season.
Griner reportedly hasn’t asked for special travel accommodations yet.
Players including Breanna Stewart, who has reportedly made charter travel a factor in her free agency, are proposing ideas.
“I would love to be part of a deal that helps subsidize charter travel for the entire WNBA,” Stewart tweeted. “I would contribute my NIL, posts + production [hours] to ensure we all travel in a way that prioritizes player health + safety, which ultimately results in a better product. Who’s with me?”
The tweet had replies from other big names including Sue Bird, Paige Bueckers, and Ja Morant.