UPDATE: AAA Travel announced Monday the availability of seats on a charter flight to Saturday's Big Ten Championship showdown between Nebraska and Wisconsin.
The flight leaves Omaha's Eppley Airfield on Friday and returns from Indianapolis on Sunday. More specific flight times are not immediately known.
The rountrip flight, including taxes and service fees, is $495. AAA Travel also provide tickets and hotels at additional costs.
Contact AAA Travel at 1-800-222-NEBR.
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It appears that an Indy in the hand is worth more than a Pasadena in the rose bush to Nebraska football fans.
After Nebraska beat Iowa Friday to qualify for the Big 10 championship game, Cornhusker backers were buying tickets and booking trips for the Dec. 1 contest against Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The winner qualifies for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., seemingly a more alluring destination than Indiana. But it's Big Red football, not tourist sights, that Nebraska fans famously flock to see. And they haven't seen their team win a championship in a long time — a 1999 Big 12 title, to be exact. So for now, at least, Husker fans are focused on Indy.
“I'm super excited,” said James Stevenson, a 2006 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who lives in Los Angeles.
Stevenson, a cousin from Lincoln and relatives from Madison, Wis., and Seattle have tickets, flights and hotel rooms booked for the Big 10 title game.
“If we win a conference championship,” Stevenson said, “I want to be in the building when it happens ... carry a rose to the game and throw it on the field and all of that.”
It was too early to tell how large the Husker horde would grow. The NU Athletic Department began selling its allotment of 15,000 tickets online at Huskers.com shortly after the Iowa game. Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-8-BIGRED.
Chris Stivers, president of the Hoosiers for Huskers NU alumni chapter in Indianapolis, is expecting a good showing from Nebraska.
He bases that on Nebraska fans' reputation for traveling well, plus recent anecdotal evidence of calls and emails from the Cornhusker state about where to stay, where to eat and what to do in Indianapolis.
“There will be a lot of people in red in downtown Indianapolis,” Stivers said, noting that he's aware Wisconsin wears red, too. “Wisconsin is a lot closer, travel-wise, but I think there will be just as many Nebraskans, if not more.”
And Indianapolis, the past site of Final Fours and a Super Bowl, should not be underestimated as a destination, said Stivers, a 1997 UNL grad.
“We know how to throw a party,” he said.
Kerry and Steve Andrews from Kearney, Neb., plan to fly there for the fun. They bought game tickets and reserved hotel rooms two weeks ago.
“We've never been (to Indianapolis) and any chance we can support the Huskers, we will take advantage of a fun trip,” Kerry Andrews said by text message while riding home from Iowa City after Friday's game.
The couple traveled to California for the UCLA game in September and hope to go back for the Rose Bowl.
“My husband scheduled his hip replacement around the bye week so we wouldn't miss any home games, the Iowa game, Indianapolis and then the Rose Bowl,” she said.
Meanwhile, the president of Norfolk, Neb.-based Allied Tour & Travel said interest in package trips — travel, tickets and events — to Indianapolis had been decent before the Iowa game.
Dave Busskohl said he had one bus filled with about 50 fans before Friday. He hopes to fill another bus, and also is putting together a charter flight from Omaha. He had several calls Friday afternoon and thinks interest will pick up.
“I think Monday's going to be really busy,” Busskohl said.
Though face-value game tickets were available for $80 on Friday, Nebraskans also were buying tickets for the Big 10 championship game on the secondary market.
Shannon Barbara, a spokeswoman for ticket re-seller Stubhub, said Friday that 21 percent of its sales were going to Nebraska, more than any other state. Wisconsin was next with 17 percent. She said Nebraskans were paying on average about $100 per ticket.
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