2024 Paris Olympics

US Olympian Takes to Social Media to Ask Delta for Business Class to Olympics – Right or Wrong?

a large airplane on a runway
Written by Charlie

US Olympians will soon head to Paris for the Olympics – and one US Olympian took to social media to ask for him and his two teammates to be upgrades to business class. Right or wrong?

The US Olympic trials are ongoing and the athletes will be set as of the end of this month. Next month, all those athletes that qualified will be heading to Paris for the 2024 Olympics. How do US Olympians travel to the Olympics? One Olympian took to social media to ask for an upgraded travel.

How US Olympians Travel to the Olympics – and Why One Olympian is Asking for Business Class

For decades, United Airlines had been the US airline responsible in ferrying our athletes from the US to the Olympics – wherever they were. This year for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Delta will have that responsibility for the first time for the summer games since United Airlines stopped being the sponsoring airline.

When US athletes are competing to try and get on the US Olympic team, they have to cover their own travel for things like the trials. Some have sponsors that pay for this for them but many athletes that have the dream of being on an Olympic team are like you and me – with day jobs but just a whole lot faster/stronger/limber/etc.

However, once they make the team, their travel and training is paid for by the US Olympic Committee. That includes their travel to and from the Olympics. This year, there will be 588 athletes in 34 sports that the US will be sending to the Olympics. That is a whole lot of people to cover travel for!

And that reason is one of the reasons that US Olympic Committee only covers economy travel on Delta to the Olympics. Depending on the sport, some athletes will head to Paris very soon to be able to get in training mode and adjust to the climate/surroundings/etc. Others may not go until right before the opening ceremony since their event may not be until the end of the Olympics.

And still others, the surfers, will not be going to Paris at all but to Tahiti. I think that would make a pretty awesome Olympic venue! 🙂

So, these athletes will be traveling in coach but they do have the options of buying their own tickets if they want to go in business class. I have had some friends that did that for past Olympics (I even offered miles to one of them to go in business class).

But, asking Delta on social media to upgrade you and your two Olympic teammates to business class? That is creating some waves after the post below received over 1 million views.

This is Harrison Williams. He and the other two men in the picture are the team members for the US decathlon team. At 6’5″, coach definitely will feel cramped but is it right to ask Delta to get business class seats instead? Especially when the other 500+ athletes are flying coach also?

I don’t see Delta doing this or else they will be getting all the other athletes asking for a similar upgrade, though these guys are definitely taller than most athletes (but there are many basketball players going and other tall athletes as well). It does kind of put Delta in a difficult situation with this. Delta will have no trouble selling business class tickets, especially when many are priced roundtrip out of NYC at $2,700 (return is on Air France or $4,500 roundtrip on Delta). Putting Olympic athletes in those seats will probably cost them more than the goodwill would earn them.

It is definitely raising questions from many as to the best way that the US Olympic Committee should approach getting the US athletes to the Olympic cities. It is in their best interest to make sure that they arrive rested and ready to get into training. At the same time, it is not that long of a flight from NYC or Boston to Paris – but, for a 6’5″ traveler, it will feel longer! I have a friend who is 6’7″ and plays for a European basketball team and he has said that, in the past, he would spend most of the flight standing because he is not able to sit regularly in a coach seat. I am 6’1″ so I definitely can see that.

But, what do you think? Was it right for a US Olympian to ask Delta to upgrade them to business class? What should Delta do?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • How did they travel to World Championships in the past? At their age, even at 6’5 I have a feeling they’ll survive in economy. Normally they arrive in Paris a week before to their competition to at least get rid of jetlag, etc.
    I think it’s fine to ask Delta. With all the attention this is getting, he can probably open up a gofundme and get it funded by his fans.

  • That’s a pitty. What a selfishi and entitled mind set.. WIth that sort of mentality… good luck at the Olympic.

  • Unreal!

    However, If Delta do it, it should be one way only, unless they win a medal, and, perhaps, at that point, even give them first class return, if it is gold.

    Worth the publicity?

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