Wilson’s weekend? JetBlue Founder Hosts Special Flight For BYU Fans To Catch Rivalry Game


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FILE – New York Jets first-round pick Zach Wilson (2) practices during NFL rookie camp in Florham Park, NJ this Friday, May 7, 2021, file photo. Wilson, the No.2 overall pick in April, will likely become No.35 when the Jets enter the regular season at Carolina on September 12. (Bill Kostroun, Associated Press)

PROVO – There are plenty of dates to circle on the calendar for anyone tracking former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson’s rookie season with the New York Jets.

None possibly bigger than the 2021 regular season opener on September 12 at Carolina – against former Cougar teammate and left tackle Brady Christensen, and a quarterback named Sam Darnold, the USC product. that Wilson replaced in the Big Apple.

Like many BYU (and Jets) fans, David Neeleman – the founder of Utah-based JetBlue Airlines and Breeze Airways, who also happens to be Wilson’s uncle on his mother’s side – saw the full program, he wanted to be at the opening. There was only one problem: The Cougars faced rival Utah – Neeleman’s alma mater – the day before in Provo, and there was no flight between Salt Lake International and Charlotte Douglas that would allow him to see both matches in their entirety. Josh Wilson, Zach’s younger brother and second-year linebacker for the Cougars, is expected to feature in that game.

So what did the founder of several multi-million dollar airlines do? He got creative. Using his connections with JetBlue, Neeleman arranged a commercial charter flight, which would depart Salt Lake International shortly after midnight on Saturday September 11 and fly to Charlotte for the NFL game on Sunday – with around 4 in 5 hours to lose in the morning, just enough time for a nap in a hotel a few steps from the stadium.

The trip costs between $ 599 and $ 799 per person, with groups ranging from one to four people. This includes travel to and from Charlotte, one night at the hotel, and transportation between the hotel and the airport. Seth Neeleman, David’s son who is in charge of booking the route, said tickets for the two games are not included to allow BYU season tickets to join the trip – those who do not. No tickets needed for the BYU-Utah game – thus allowing individuals and parties to sit wherever they prefer at Bank of Amerca Stadium.

“We want to get people to go there with friends or in small groups, so going alone would be the most expensive,” said youngster Neeleman, who recently completed a four-year career in lacrosse at the University of London. ‘Utah. “Getting a plane right now is really tough with the new TSA regulations. But David used his relationship with JetBlue to get a plane, which will be crewed with JetBlue and everything they needed to make it happen. . “

The weekend will begin with Saturday’s kickoff between the Cougars and the Utes – which “may the best team win,” joked Seth Neeleman. Customers are responsible for their own transportation to Salt Lake International around midnight, where they will pass the TSA main security checkpoint and proceed to the main terminal.

Due to the size of the plane – a 200-passenger A-321 rather than a smaller charter flight – the flight will pass through the commercial terminal, Neelman said. Traditional snacks and in-flight drinks will be available, along with individual JetBlue television service. No checked baggage will be permitted, but carry-on baggage is permitted.

After the four-hour trip – plus the two-hour time change – guests will arrive in Charlotte around 7 a.m., where they will take a bus to the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel, located a 10-15 minute walk from the stadium Bank of America before At the game.

After departure (a locked conference room will be available to store personal effects during the match), individuals and small groups are free to leave for the stadium at their own pace. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST, when all guests will have to cheer on Wilson or the Jets, Neeleman joked.

After the game, a bus will be available to return the group to the airport in time for a 6 p.m. EST flight, which will land in Salt Lake City at approximately 8:30 p.m. MST.

About half of the spots were claimed on Friday afternoon, Neeleman said. Tickets are non-refundable, but can be transferred to another person up to a week before boarding.

Registration and a detailed itinerary are available on thewilsonweekend.com.

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