The WNBA has been allowing teams to fly on the public chartering airline JSX as part of this season’s upgraded travel program, which faced renewed criticism from the WNBA Players Association following last weekend’s Dallas airport incident involving Brittney Griner.
JSX is a jet service that operates out of private terminals, eliminating the need for teams and players to go through airports and TSA security. A WNBA source told ESPN that the service provides “a taste of what chartering will be like” should the league eventually adopt a full-season charter flight program, which commissioner Cathy Engelbert previously said would cost more than $20 million per year.
However, the league only permits teams to use pre-set routes and flight times set by JSX. The company allows clients to set their flight routes and times, but this feature costs more and is prohibited by the WNBA. The Las Vegas Aces was recently reprimanded by the league and forced to cancel a charter flight after they used JSX to create ‘pop-up’ routes for their road trip between Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Hartford, reports the Washington Post.
The WNBPA said last week following Griner’s Dallas airport harassment incident that commercial flights are a “threat to health and safety” of players. In addition to the JSX offering, the league’s expanded program this season includes charter flights for all postseason games, the Commissioner’s Cup Championship, and select back-to-back regular season games.
Last year, the WNBA fined New York Liberty owners Joe and Clara Tsai $500,000 for funding unauthorized team charter flights during the 2021 season. ESPN reports that the Aces are no longer customizing flights through JSX and will not face a fine from the league.