WNBA will cover charter flights for Game 1 of semifinals

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced Sunday that the league will provide charter flights for the winners of Sparks-Storm and Aces-Sky as they travel to Connecticut and D.C., respectively.

Both games this afternoon are on the West Coast (3 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. ET).  The Aces will head to Washington, after topping the Sky thanks to this jaw-dropping shot from Dearica Hamby. The Sparks beat the Storm 92-69 and will head to Connecticut.

Below is the statement from Engelbert:

“With both second-round WNBA playoff games taking place in the Pacific Time Zone on Sunday and WNBA semifinals set to tip off on Tuesday in Connecticut and Washington, D.C., the league has arranged and will cover costs for charter flights for the winners of Sunday’s games. We believe it is in the best interest of the players to provide them with an opportunity to arrive expeditiously in the city of the first game of the WNBA semifinals and have a full day on-site to practice, rest and prepare.”

WNBA teams fly commercial, under the rules of the current collective bargaining agreement. The WNBPA opted out of that agreement late last year. One of the topics of discussion as CBA negotiations begin include have opt have been reliable and comfortable travel for players.

Earlier this season, the Indiana Fever took an eight-hour bus ride home from Seattle after dealing with flight delays. And the Chicago, also due to flight delays, didn’t arrive to their hotel in Connecticut until 4 a.m. on a game day against the Sun.

Terri Carmichael Jackson, WNBPA’s executive director, released a statement following the announcement:

“The League’s decision to provide charter accommodations at the conclusion of today’s playoff games is well-received by the WNBPA membership because it recognizes what is at the heart of our concerns for the Players’ working conditions: health and safety, as well as the Player professional experience.”

The WNBA finals tip off September 29.

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