The New Orleans Saints celebrated their win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday by eating a team dinner in Charlotte, loading onto a plane and lifting off at around 7:25 Eastern time, their course set over the Atlantic Ocean.
New Orleans landed in London roughly eight hours later, beginning a week of preparation for next Sunday's showcase at Wembley Stadium against the Miami Dolphins.
The Saints are the only NFL team out of the first wave of four teams scheduled to make an early-season trip to London to spend the entire week in England. Both Jacksonville and Baltimore, the two teams that played in Wembley on Sunday, didn't land in London until Friday, the same plan the Dolphins plan to follow this week.
New Orleans coach Sean Payton is sticking to what worked the last time the Saints played in the NFL's International Series, a 37-32 win over the San Diego Chargers in 2008.
"It varies," Payton said on Friday. "This itinerary, the last time we went we felt comfortable with."
By virtue of a quirk in the NFL's schedule, this London trip mirrors the first one almost exactly: a road game in Charlotte, N.C., followed by a trip to England.
A full week overseas will give the Saints time to get over the inevitable jet lag that comes from a flight across the Atlantic.
According to the Mayo Clinic, jet lag occurs when a person travels rapidly across time zones, disrupting the body's circadian rhythms, or internal clock, and the symptoms are typically at their worst within a day or two of arrival.
Jet lag is also usually worse when a person travels east.
"You get the experts that talk about recovery and the time change," Payton said. "It’s just something we made a decision on. (It’s) Probably (better to arrive) earlier than later, but it varies depending on the team."
One of the drawbacks to leaving early for London is that the long flight makes it difficult to bring in players for a workout.
New Orleans prepared for the possibility of injury against Carolina by working out a long list of veterans last week, and the Saints brought a few veterans to Charlotte who weren't on the 53-man roster for the game against the Panthers because they likely will be back against Miami.
Fullback John Kuhn, who is expected to sign with the Saints on Monday, was at the Panthers game, along with veteran defensive lineman Darryl Tapp.
Wide receiver Willie Snead, who is eligible to return from a three-game suspension, also traveled with the team to London. NFL players under suspension typically aren't allowed to be with the team until the term is over, but Snead flew with the team to London because of the unique nature of the circumstances.
"It's tricky, there are a handful of moving parts," Payton said.
New Orleans took care of the trickiest part of the trip on Sunday. Unlike in 2008, when the Saints dropped a 30-7 decision to the Panthers before getting on a plane to London, New Orleans left Charlotte in a jubilant mood after beating the Panthers 34-13 on Sunday.
"Being 0-2, it was time to put everything together," linebacker A.J. Klein said. "We're going to have another great week of preparation, not let this London trip get in our way and hopefully come away with another win."