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Delta takes eight of its Airbus A319 jets out of regular passenger service in October and installs special interiors designed by the NBA. Instead of 126 seats, there are only 54. The plane is segregated into three cabins—the front for players, with 16 seats that fold out into beds for 7-footers, 10 seats in the middle for coaches and 28 in the rear for team staff, security and beat reporters. Even the seats in the rear have more space than normal domestic first-class seats. Wall Street Journal

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. Wall Street Journal

Delta selects sports-charter flight attendants candidates based on attendance, commendations and work history. Officials from college and professional teams then get to sit in on interviews with flight attendants each season, and draft their preferred roster. Flight attendants typically wear team-branded shirts instead of airline uniforms. "You'd think they want the youngest and best-looking, but it's not that way at all. They want experienced, well-spoken flight attendants with a professional attitude," said Mr. Wernecke. "Teams are afraid of the 23-year-old beauty queen. They think only bad things can happen.'' Wall Street Journal

March 18, 2012 Updates

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