United Airlines Offers To Fly Air Force Football Team To Play Naval Academy

If only United responded this way to every traveler stranded by a cancellation.

If only United responded this way to every traveler stranded by a cancellation.

Though the various colleges representing the U.S. Armed Forces are still operating through the shutdown of the federal government, the transportation budgets for those schools’ sports teams have been frozen while it’s determined whether that money comes from Congressional appropriations or from other sources. This has put this weekend’s football showdown between the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy in jeopardy. Now United Airlines has volunteered to help make the game happen.

After hearing about the possibility that the Air Force/Navy game may be affected by the shutdown, United Tweeted, “We hate cancellations, so we’re offering to fly [the Air Force Academy] to this year’s Air Force-Navy game.”

The airline asked followers to re-Tweet if they liked that offer, and so far nearly 3,000 people have. However, it might not be as simple as getting the Air Force team on a plane from Colorado to Maryland.

After all, the Army Cadets were scheduled to travel to Boston College to play this weekend, but even that trip — which would be about a 4-5 hour drive — is on hold.

BC says it made an offer, much like United’s, to arrange transportation from West Point to Boston, but that “We have been told by officials at the US Military Academy, however, that this is not solely a financial decision.”

The big issue remains whether or not an academy’s travel funds are appropriated by Congress or not.

“There are differences in how each academy funds their athletics programs,” a Dept. of Defense rep explained to ESPN.com. “One academy can pay for its entire program through non-appropriated funds. Others do not have that setup.”

A decision is expected to be announced by noon Thursday.

In the meantime, we wish United would respond to all stranded passengers’ Tweets with such generous offers…