Trail Blazers

The future of flight: Nike helps design plane specifically for athletes

Trail Blazers

There is no doubt that professional athletes already travel in style.

Back in the day, NBA teams used to fly commercial. Now, teams charter their own flights. One big plane, lots of space, no strangers on board.

It's about as nice as travel can be for a sports team, really... that is unless Nike has something to say about it.

Nike has partnered with Seattle based design firm Teague to design a plane catered to athletes, and more specifically designed with basketball players in mind.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes travel to the next level. It's no longer about getting the team from Point A to Point B. It's about getting them there while getting the most out of their time in the air. 

A cross country flight for a team like the Trail Blazers takes about six hours. That is a lot of time in the air with nothing to do but sit in your row and take a nap.

With the design by Nike, planes would include recovery areas, workout areas, and upgraded data service to allow players to fully analyze game film.

According to Teague, "armed with insights about the lives of elite athletes, we focused our design efforts on four areas of performance innovation that are not addressed by commercial charters."

  • Recovery: Equalizing the negative effects of air travel on the mind and body; bringing the training room to the sky through in-flight biometrics and analysis to accelerate injury diagnosis and treatment.
  • Circulation: Fostering natural mobility by building in equipment that ensures optimal circulation and promotes healing.
  • Sleep: Designing ideal sleeping conditions for individuals and sleep strategies for entire teams to maximize physical readiness.
  • Thinking: Creating spaces for key mental activities and enabling in-transit film review both before and after games.

What athlete wouldn't want to fly like this?

It remains to be seen if the design innovation will ever make it to market, but if it does, it will likely carry a hefty price tag.


Will owners be willing to shell out top dollar for the next level flight experience?

It only takes one. If one owner buys in, all the rest will most likely follow for fear of some other team having a competitive advantage.

Players will surely push for it. Just look at the renders. They're simply amazing.




[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].