Every WNBA team to begin using charter flights by May 21

Every WNBA team will start using charter flights to travel to games by May 21.

The league made the announcement Thursday, following through on plans to commit $50 million over the next two years to provide full-time charter flight service for its teams during the season.

“As the league previously announced, we would be phasing in the program at the start of the season and can share that beginning May 21 all teams will be flying charter to games," the WNBA said.

The move addresses years of player safety concerns and means the players no longer have to deal with long security lines. It comes at a time when the league's popularity has grown to all-time highs, boosted by the arrival of Caitlin Clark and other well-known rookies like Angel Reese and Cameron Brink.

Only two of the four teams that traveled for the opening-night games used charter planes. The Indiana Fever and Minnesota Lynx were on charters, and New York and Phoenix traveled commercially.

There was a little bit of a competitiveness issue heading into Thursday night's contest; Clark and the Fever were able to charter home to Indianapolis late Tuesday night after their game while the Liberty had to fly commercial from Washington on Wednesday. That won’t be a problem again after May 21.

Both teams are flying commercially to New York for their contest Saturday.

Clark helped the NCAA reach its best viewership in history for women’s basketball, with nearly 19 million fans watching the title game between Iowa and South Carolina.