Air Traffic Control Fawns Over Monday’s American Flight Carrying the Superbowl Champion Eagles

After the Superbowl, the world champion Philadelphia Eagles were flown home on an American Airlines-charted Airbus A330-200.

This was aircraft N283AY, an un-updated legacy US Airways bird delivered in 2009 with 20 lie flat direct aisle access business class seats — with neither Main Cabin Extra extra legroom coach seats nor premium economy. It does have seat power and wifi, however. Update: this plane came back from retrofit with Premium Economy on January 8.

Naturally they left late, though I’m surprised they were just 47 minutes behind. D0 just doesn’t apply to the Superbowl champions.

Air traffic control went crazy for the plane carrying home the Eagles. You can listen in, they’re “American 9475 Heavy.” They talk to other aircraft about the plane. They give the pilots any routing they want. And as the plane gets passed off from one controller to the next everyone wants the pilots to pass on their congratulations.

(HT: The Short Final)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. N283AY is updated with the new interior, including PE. All A332s are now updated. 283 flew to PAE for refit on 12/31 and left on 1/8.

  2. Sidetracking a bit but can you create an obscure game in your backyard and win it and call yourself a world champion because no one else cares to play it?

    Thought “world” meant differently before coming to the US. But having the money and hyping it up enough commercially by yourself would apparently earn the rights.

  3. @Thanh — It’s a harmless practice but, yes, it’s pretty stupid when Americans declare themselves “world champions” in a game only we play.

    I was in Asia at game time and it’s pretty humbling to click through more than 50 channels of cable TV (much of it in English) and not being able to find the game being broadcast. Of course, the reverse would happen for a big cricket or rugby match.

  4. “”They give the pilots any routing they want.””

    Inaccuate routing comment.. Other than kudos for winning SB-LII, aircraft flew standard routing. Normal professional service by ATC community.

  5. @iahphx…..I happened to be in Thailand during one of the Winter Olympics….zero coverage. I had to go online for any news much less event broadcast. It was reported that Thailand did not want to pay the licensing fees to broadcast the games. Could have been the same reason for the Superbowl.

    On a side note…even though the teams are not “pro”, American football is gaining popularity in Australia and Denmark…just to name two countries.

  6. @TxPepper: trust me, it’s not because of the licensing fees. Even if they could get the broadcasting rights for $0, I can’t imagine more than a handful of people tuning in. And that number includes American expats. Simply, it’s not something they care about. Most of the world probably have never even heard of the sport and it is pretty much irrelevant outside of the US.

    Soccer, universally the most popular sport, is not as popular in the US because American football has been so much more hyped up. It’s a conscious choice for Americans but it’s not one they made. $$$ made up the choice for them. A 15min in between two 45min halves does not generate enough revenues.

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