Since United Airlines is the official carrier of the NFL’s New York Giants, it had the honor of flying the team back home after Sunday’s thrilling play-off game against San Francisco.
American Dropped Patriots’ Sponsorship
Good thing the New England Patriots played at home and didn’t have to fly. As far as can be determined, they no longer have any official airline.
It wasn’t always that way. Since 2009, American Airlines had the proud sponsor of the Patriots. Then came its bankruptcy filing in late November. The affiliation was reportedly dropped sometime last summer or fall and may or may not have been in response to the Chapter 11 filing.
UPDATE: American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith now tells FareCompare, “We have not been the official airline of the Patriots for over a year now. Nothing related to our restructuring filing in late November. Just a business decision on the part of both parties.”
In any event, some might call that bad timing.
United Downplays Giants Connection
On the other hand, United does not seem to be making any fuss over its Giants’ affiliation on either the UA website or the airline’s Facebook page, probably recognizing that many of its customers support other teams. Still, free publicity is free publicity and no doubt American is wishing it had some.
Possible Patriots Sponsor: JetBlue?
In the meantime, it does not appear that any other airline has stepped up to the plate so to speak to sponsor the Patriots. A geographically likely candidate could be New England neighbor JetBlue. The New York-based carrier actually does sponsor some features on the Patriots’ website – but JetBlue already has a slew of official teams sponsorships including the Buffalo Bills, the Boston Red Sox, Orlando Magic, LA Clippers, LA Dodgers and the Angels – so their dance card is pretty full.
On the other hand, what’s one more team? Especially one that’s headed to the Super Bowl.