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Allegiant Air gives UConn a lift after delayed Final Four flight

A Las Vegas-based airline came to the rescue of the Connecticut men’s basketball team after it encountered plane problems Wednesday morning before its flight to Phoenix for the Final Four.

The plane that was to fly overall No. 1 seed UConn to Arizona for its semifinal matchup against Alabama on Saturday experienced mechanical issues. The problem eventually was solved, but because of the delay, a flight crew was not available.

That’s when the NCAA reached out to Allegiant Air, which scrambled to find a plane and crew that got the UConn team to Phoenix.

“Though Allegiant was not originally selected to fly the team, we were thrilled to help out, even on short notice,” the airline said in a statement.

It made for a long day for the Huskies, the prohibitive favorite to win their second straight national championship. The earliest Allegiant could schedule a flight for departure was 11:30 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, but a weather system moved into Hartford County, Connecticut, and delayed takeoff by 90 minutes for de-icing. The chartered flight departed at 12:40 a.m. ET on Thursday and arrived in Phoenix at 3:11 a.m. Mountain time.

UConn players didn’t have much time to sleep once they arrived. The team’s practice was canceled, but media day was Thursday afternoon.

Allegiant also flew Final Four teams Alabama and Purdue to Phoenix, leaving North Carolina State as the only team to fly on another airline.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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