UConn plane delay, explained: Why Huskies were forced to arrive late in Arizona ahead of Final Four

When it comes to athletics, there are certain aspects of preparation that go unnoticed behind the scenes, but are vital to an organization operating at a high capacity. Those factors include nutrition, strength training and mental health, among others. 

One facet that largely goes on without issue is travel. When it comes to the top programs in the NCAA such as UConn, getting from Point A to Point B is typically smooth sailing. Long gone are the days of multi-hour bus rides, as these teams are afforded the luxury of traversing in comfort. 

With that said, sometimes a delay in travel is inevitable. For the Huskies, that bump in the road — or rather, the air — came ahead of this weekend’s Final Four. UConn experienced an extended delay in leaving Connecticut for Arizona, the site of the 2024 Final Four, on Wednesday.

The Huskies are two wins away from making history. The No. 1 seed is looking to become the first program to win back-to-back NCAA Tournament championships since Florida accomplished the feat in 2006 and 2007. In its way first is a semifinal matchup against Alabama on Friday. 

MORE: History of UConn’s national championships in men’s basketball

Here is more on why the Huskies were delayed arriving in Arizona. 

Why was UConn’s plane delayed?

UConn’s flight was originally schedule to leave Bradley International Airport in the Hartford area at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. However, mechanical issues with the plane caused a delay that last over seven hours. 

The aircraft scheduled to carry the Huskies was first coming in from Kansas City, however, mechanical problems caused a delay. That created a domino effect, as the crew flying the plane from Kansas City would be over their FAA hours, making them unable to fly to Arizona immediately, according to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander

With the delay, the flight was projected to leave by 11:30 p.m., however Hurley posted on X, formerly Twitter, at 1:05 a.m. that the team had yet to leave the airport. 

Ultimately, UConn did not leave the Connecticut airport until 1:30 a.m. on Thursday. 

The team finally arrived at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix at about 3:15 a.m. local time Thursday. It took about five hours for the Allegiant Air plane to make the trek. 

The NCAA issued a statement on the delay, expressing its “disappointment” in the team’s late arrival to Arizona. 

In addition, the governing body worked with Hurley and his team to adjust their schedules accordingly due to the delay, as reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel. 

The Huskies were scheduled to have a practice and a media session Thursday, however the player’s media availability was canceled, according to Fox Sports’ John Fanta. Only Hurley would meet with the media for a press conference. 

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Alabama and Purdue arrived in Arizona on Tuesday night. NC State flew in Wednesday afternoon, making UConn the last team, by a wide margin, to arrive for the Final Four.

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