With the 2024–25 regular season on the horizon, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) will launch a league-wide full charter flight program. By taking this long-overdue step, the league has finally demonstrated its dedication to the well-being of its players and established a new standard for women’s athletics. The decision, announced by WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert on May 9, results from the league’s strategic business transformation over recent years.

The WNBA has been relentlessly questing to elevate the game. It has focused on areas such as marketing, digital transformation, globalization and fan engagement. With a $75 million capital raise in February 2022 fueling these efforts, the league’s latest move to charter flights validates a “player-first agenda.” This will enhance its athletes’ health, safety and overall well-being.

“We have been hard at work to transform the business and build a sustainable economic model to support charter flights for the long term,” said Engelbert in a press release. “While we still have a lot of work to do to continue to execute our strategic plan. We feel confident that the time is now to institute a full charter program to demonstrate our commitment to leading with a player-first agenda.”

The Path to Charter Flights

The transition to charter flights represents a significant evolution from the league’s previous travel arrangements, which predominantly involved commercial flights. This shift addresses the long-standing concerns over travel-related wear and tear on players and reflects the league’s financial growth and stability. The flights are also a response to players’ advocating for better travel accommodations to mitigate the strains of frequent travel and back-to-back games.

Delta Air Lines has been named the primary operator for this ambitious program. The airline will step in as a pivotal partner. Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, expressed enthusiasm about adding the WNBA to its roster of sports charter partners, promising the league the high-quality service Delta is known for. “It’s exciting to add the WNBA to our prestigious roster of sports charter partners as we participate in this historic advancement in women’s professional sports,” the CEO noted.

The WNBA’s Next Season

With the addition of the charter flight program, the 28th season of the WNBA is sure to be among the most anticipated. What this decision represents goes beyond mere travel — it’s about betting on women and recognizing their value. It also sets new standards for professional sports leagues worldwide. As the WNBA prepares for takeoff, it sends a powerful message: the time is now to elevate women’s sports to new heights.