United Airlines Charter Takes Off With Kansas City Chiefs Equipment Still On Board

The Kansas City Chiefs clinched the AFC West last night and stopped the New England Patriots’ home winning streak at 21 games. But the real drama was lost luggage leading up to the game.

The Kansas City Chiefs took a United Airlines-chartered aircraft to play the New England Patriots. When they arrived some of their equipment was left on board. The plane then went to Newark, and the equipment didn’t reach them until two hours prior to kickoff.

The container, which held shoulder pads, helmets, footballs, and approximately 35 players’ bags, was never taken off the team’s plane when it arrived in Massachusetts, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Around 2:45 p.m., the equipment was finally spotted at Gillette Stadium. Had it not arrived in time for the 4:25 p.m. kickoff, Kansas City would have had to forfeit, according to ESPN.

The team’s equipment logistics staff are the ones really at fault here for not identifying the missing items before the aircraft departed. Fortunately they managed to get the plane back, with the equipment still on board, and rush it to the stadium.

If you’re a New England fan, you can blame your own Massachusetts State Police for avoiding a Chiefs forfeit. They provided the luggage with an escort to the stadium.

As flagged by ekozie the aircraft “flew the container on a regular commercial flight” to Boston before the supplies were reunited with the Chiefs.

Despite the stress of missing equipment the Chiefs still beat the Patriots 23-16.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Wow. Interesting. It was a big game and they won. Maybe KC should lose their equipment temporarily before every big game.

  2. The aircraft actually landed in Providence (PVD) and it was the responsibility of the K. C. Chiefs, not the airline, to unload the gear. It is interesting in that I wonder who performed the load and balance calculation when the aircraft took off but the 767-400 was virtually empty for the short flight to EWR

  3. I like stories like these where you get a peek at all the mundane logistics that are required to keep a professional sports team up and running.

  4. Contrary to the comments above by Rusty, it is indeed the responsibility of the ground handling staff whether United or a vendor to offload and check the aircraft before departing. They (United) has a ”loadmaster)that flys with the team on the airplane that checks the load
    And calls in the final weights and load to a Central Weight and Balance dept in Chicago that does the weight and balance calculations.
    Shame on them for not doing their job. Probably to busy raiding the galley after the team and flight attendants left.

  5. Luckily the Patriots lost, or, like DeflateGate, it would be in the news for the next two weeks… EquipmentGate? And every conspiracy nut would have to wonder if the Patriots can ever beat an opponent fair and square.

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