The Magazine

Fly the Really Friendly Skies

Nov 19, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 10 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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The best way to fly isn’t first class, and it’s not on a private jet​—​the former resembles more and more what economy used to be while the latter usually involves tiny cabins. No, the way to go is on a chartered jet with a professional sports team.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one recent flight with the St. Louis Rams included grilled halibut, smashed potatoes, and Dove ice cream bars, while a New Orleans Hornets jet came with tables for card games and beds long enough to fit the players. Meanwhile, an unspecified hockey team “wants all organic food on board. Another wants all high-protein food and no carbohydrates.”

But it’s all rather tame compared with years gone by:

Team charters often used to amount to a fraternity party of beer, pizza and junk food, sometimes with guitar playing and rookie hazing, but airlines say the days of raucous party flights are gone. Many teams ban alcohol, have nutritionists select menus and set up plane interiors so coaches can study game films and players can sleep. The most popular drink on National Basketball Association flights, according to Delta: Snapple Kiwi-Strawberry juice drink.

The Scrapbook couldn’t help but notice a few choice lines in the article, such as: “Some flights carry a therapist for rubdowns and treatments in-flight” and “airlines​—​particularly Delta​—​and charter companies cater to teams with tricked-out jets, handpicked flight attendants and meals from players’ favorite restaurants, sometimes served on silver trays.”

Handpicked flight attendants? That must refer to flight attendants who are always prompt, courteous, and sincere.

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