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Team USA Packs Up and Flies Home to Water Cannon Salutes

August 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM | by | ()

If you've been following the Olympics on NBC at all, it's been pretty much drilled into your head that United Airlines is the official airlines of the US Olympic Team. Their ads, which ran like every other commercial break, presented the Star Alliance carrier as something like the silent partner in Team USA's success at London 2012. But now that the Games are over and the Closing Ceremony has the world wondering why the UK considers Russell Brand a national treasure, the athletes have got to fly home.

This morning, United's twitter account (@united) lit up with enthusiasm over the arrival at Chicago-O'Hare of Flight 929 from London-Heathrow. On the tarmac, multiple water cannon salutes welcomed the aircraft. In the terminal, multiple Olympians poured into baggage claim. Team USA was back..

Just one thing. As eager as United is to portray themselves as the airline behind the entire Olympic Team, the reality is that athletes have been trickling back to the good ol' US of A for days, on other airlines. Uh oh!

For example, below is a photo Air New Zealand posted to their Facebook, showing Olympic gymnast (and two-time 2012 gold medalist gymnast) Gabby Douglas chilling in the airline's all-white Premium Economy cabin on a flight from London direct to Los Angeles.

On the flip side, United has well noted that it may fly the Olympic athletes, but they're back in Economy. Note this screenshot from one of the United ads played during the first half of the Olympics on NBC:

So, what would you rather? Take the celebratory flight home with a pod of other Olympians but be forced to land in Chicago and fly in Economy, or head home a little earlier, to a city of your choice, in a cabin better than Economy, but pay for it? Keep in mind you've likely just won gold and a boatload of lucrative sponsorship contract offers...

Still, we can't deny that the final United commercial is a thing of beauty:

[Photos: @united on Twitter; Air NZ USA on Facebook]

Archived Comments:

NZ Business Class

Based on the window placement behind the seat, Gabby Douglas is quite obviously sitting in NZ's new all-white business class.

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