Have you ever wondered how sports teams travel? You don't see them on commercial airlines. Turns out that the majority of the teams charter plans to take the players, staff and equipment to their road games. But that is becoming an issue as a lot of the companies that charter planes are starting to retire them rather than go through the expensive renovations required by the FAA, meaning the number of options for teams are getting smaller. The world champion New England Patriots have decided to solve that problem by buying their own plane… and a back up.
A report from ESPN says that the patriots have bought a pair of Boeing 767 wide-body jets to use during the season. One of them has been done up in the Patriots colors, has the name on the side and five Lombardi trophies on the tail. This will be the main plane used for their 10 road games a year with the second plane serving as a back up. We're told these are extended flight planes which allow for 12 hours non-stop flying. They have also been remodeled inside to first class style seating through out. Depending on miles, a used plane like this can cost anywhere from $5 million to $65 million. A new one costs $200 million.
So how can a team justify this cost? The price of chartering a plane has gone up significantly to where most teams are paying close to $4 million a year for those 10 games. Add in the fact the team could charter out the plane when not needed, and they could end up with a decent return on their investment over time. Plus the team can put things on the plane like a therapy room, to help facilitate player recover instead of making wait until they get back home.
This may become more common in the NFL as American Airlines announced last year that it would no longer fly the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins.