Welcome to … Las Vegas.
The teams for Super Bowl XVIII have been set: The Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers in this year’s big game on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium.
With less than two weeks to go until kickoff, airlines are adding flights between Vegas and both Kansas City and the Bay Area.
This is pretty typical. Airlines usually add some capacity for football fans traveling to and from the Super Bowl. However, what’s notable this year isn’t just the extra flights or the types of aircraft ferrying fans to Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Vegas.
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Let’s just say the flight numbers got a bit creative…and definitely included some not-so-subtle references.
After all, the Chiefs’ fourth Super Bowl appearance in five years means the romance between star tight end Travis Kelce (87) and music icon Taylor Swift will surely take center stage at this annual pinnacle of American sports, music, media and pop culture.
That starts with the flight numbers airlines decided to assign their new Super Bowl-oriented routes.
“You could say that after tonight’s games, we are in our football era, and we are thrilled to provide direct flights from Kansas City to Las Vegas. To our customers who are huge sports fans, look what you made us do,” American Airlines said in a statement that had clear nods to Swift’s historic Eras Tour, not to mention the single from her 2017 album “Reputation.”
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MCI-LAS (Taylor’s Version)
American is adding a total of seven new nonstop flights between Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and Vegas between Feb. 8 and 13. There are new westbound flights to Vegas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as well as extra return flights to Kansas City beginning hours after the game and running through Tuesday.
A few highlights (and again, take special note of the flight numbers):
- AA15 is an ode to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (who wears jersey number 15). It will depart Kansas City at 12:30 p.m. CST on Feb. 8 and arrive in Vegas at 1:35 p.m. PST. There will also be two return flights designated AA15 on Monday and Tuesday after the game.
- AA1989 is a nod to Swift’s hit 2014 album and is the flight number on two Vegas-bound flights from Kanas City — on the Friday and Saturday leading up to the game.
- Other flight numbers include AA1521 (for Mahomes and his teammate Mike Edwards, who wears jersey number 21) plus, of course, AA87 (for Kelce).
United adds flights, too
United Airlines is also having a bit of fun. Sunday evening, the Chicago-based carrier announced additional capacity between Vegas and both Kansas City and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
In a social media post, United unveiled the following new routes:
Kansas City to Las Vegas
- UA1587 — a nod to Mahomes and Kelce
- UA2287 — United’s explanation: “We’re feelin’ …”
- UA1989 — United again: “For the fans who *juuuust* got into it.”
San Francisco to Las Vegas
- UA1995 — the season the 49ers last won a Super Bowl
- UA1849 — “The original *rush*”
Getting to the Super Bowl
If you’re hoping to make last-minute travel arrangements for the big game, be sure to check out TPG’s guide to getting to Vegas for the Super Bowl.
At this stage, you can certainly expect to pay a premium for airfare, hotels and — certainly — for a ticket to the game itself.
Booking app Hopper expects average airfare will peak at around $500, round trip. But, depending on the route, you could certainly end up paying even more.
For instance, let’s say you hope to fly from Kansas City to Vegas on the aptly designated flight 1989. Then, you take the red-eye, Flight 87, home after the game — yes, it departs shortly after Midnight(s).
That American Airlines round trip would cost you $1,245.
Simply put, if you’re considering a trip to the Super Bowl, you shouldn’t wait any longer. Lock in those flexible hotel reservations and, at the very least, go ahead and put a hold on your airfare.
After all, there are only 13 days to go.