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An Examination Of College Football Flight Patterns

By Bo McCready, Doug Kroll

AthleticDirectorU presents an interactive examination of NCAA Football flight patterns during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Click on your favorite college football team in the Tableau below to see airport, airline and flight data.

 

 

Key Findings:

 

  • ACC and Pac-12 teams had the most flights, followed by Conference USA, which has a large geographic footprint. Among FBS conferences, MAC teams fly by far the least often, with nine of the conference’s 12 teams concentrated in Michigan and Ohio.

 

  • At the team level, Georgia football had by far the most flights, driven by their need to travel in two separate planes when using the Athens airport. Other frequent fliers include Alabama, Boise State, New Mexico State, and Washington.

 

  • Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) is the airport with the most departing flights for college football teams, with 53, followed by Raleigh Durham (RDU), with 50. Atlanta (ATL), Memphis (MEM), and Los Angeles (LAX) round out the top five.

 

  • The most commonly flown airlines by far were Sun County and Allegiant Air, two budget airlines that operate a high volume of charter flights. Delta and United are the most-used legacy airlines, with most of their usage coming from Power 5 conference teams.

 

  • The highest concentrations of flights are on Friday afternoons and Saturday nights, showing that most teams don’t travel very far in advance of their games and return shortly after they end.

 

  • At the individual plane level, a Boeing 737 operated by Sun Country with tail number N820SY carried 30 different teams across 65 flights during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, including Wyoming 11 times and Colorado State 8 times. Another Sun Country Boeing 737 (N808SY) carried 33 different teams, the highest total across all planes.

 

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