Private jets have long been the ultimate status symbol and the pinnacle of luxury and glamour. This exclusive mode of transport has long been reserved only for the richest in society, however, the use of private jets has recently become ever present not only in business, but in top-level sport as well.
Of course, the elite sportsmen and women of the world have been flying solo for some time now, but private charters are now a staple for top-level sports teams around the world.
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It shouldn’t come as a surprise that football teams have been flying to and from international games for over 50 years, however the rise of chartered flights is becoming ever more prevalent in this sport.
With the high profiles of the players themselves, the sizeable support staff and associated press, it’s virtually a necessity for any successful team to fly private.
More interesting is the rise of private assignments in pre-season football. Once a mundane, month-long second-team kickabout against domestic lower league hopefuls, the pre-season is now an annual opportunity for top clubs to increase revenue and offer support in the furthest corners of the world.
From the World Cup and Champions League down to individual players on the move for pre-transfer medicals, you’ll be hard pressed to find a top-level footballer not regularly enjoying a private flight.
Champion Lewis Hamilton has no problem affording his own jet, but there is also an obscene operation that goes on behind the scenes to keep Formula 1 running around the world.
A 2,000-ton load, consisting of the teams’ equipment, is transported between each race by six of DHL’s Boeing 737s, and that only covers hospitality, media and electronic equipment; chartered cargo planes are also enlisted for transport of the cars.
Chartered flights must work to a strict timeframe as part of an intensely efficient process that makes sure every Formula 1 race happens seamlessly.
The American Big Guns
Non-commercial flights are a given in top-tier American sport. Most, if not all, teams from the NFL (American football), NBA (basketball), NHL (hockey) and MLB (baseball) enlist such services as a must, due to largely congested playing schedules across a huge North American base.
Moving up to the next level, Dallas Maverick’s (NBA) owner Mark Cuban owns a custom-made private jet to keep even his tallest players comfortable, whilst the most successful dynasty in NFL history: Robert Kraft’s New England Patriots, boast a plane worthy of their success.
Whilst the above is quite a prestigious list, private jet charter is becoming ever more affordable, and will no doubt continue its expansion as a legitimate method of travel in modern life.