CINCINNATI – Before the Bengals took off for London Thursday, there were two big questions facing them that had nothing to do with football.
One, who would get a bed on the plane?
Two, what would they do without internet during the nearly eight-hour flight?
Domata Peko, the 6-3, 315-pound defensive tackle, called dibs on a bed, and who is going to tell him no?
"Oh yeah, got to, man!" the 31-year-old Peko said. "Old veteran like me? I'm think I'm going to have a bed for sure. "
There were 65 players in the traveling party of 150 and only 40 flat beds on the plane.
Seniority rules, the team said. Peko and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth have the longest tenure with the club - 11 years. The players who don't get a bed will have to be content with having a whole row of seats to themselves on the flight for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 27, 2016
To keep distractions to a minimum, coach Marvin Lewis tried to keep the players on their usual schedule this week. They chose a later departure so they could get two days' of practice at Paul Brown Stadium. Lewis even pretended that they're just going to play a typical home game Sunday.
"We're not going to London," Lewis told reporters covering the team. "We're playing the Redskins and it happens to be in London."
Lewis told his players that their game at Wembley Stadium, home of England's national soccer team, will be no different than if they were playing in the aisles at Kroger.
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— WCPO (@WCPO) October 27, 2016
"I think Marvin said earlier today that whether we're playing at Kroger's or we're playing in here or playing over there, we can't lose the task at hand and that's beating the Redskins," running back Jeremy Hill said.
The first business at hand is getting rest on the flight and making the adjustment to a five-hour time difference. That might be easier said than done. Some of the players are excited about their making their first trip to London – maybe too excited to get much sleep on a plane.
It won't be the first trip to Europe for defensive lineman Margus Hunt. He grew up in Estonia and said he was thrilled to be going back.
"I haven't been in London for 10 years now," Hunt said. It's a beautiful city. It's a beautiful environment. It's a lot of great people. Especially getting the opportunity to go and play there."
The players were warned that there's no wireless access on the flight, so they'll have to entertain themselves without social media.
"I think this will be a good bonding experience for the team," tight end C.J. Uzomah said. "We're going to be on a plane together for eight hours, cramped. We'll get up and you'll hear people say, 'Ah, this sucks.' We'll be going through all that together, which will be nice."
The Bengals will attend a reception at the Tower Bridge on Friday night, and players will have a few free hours to themselves. Otherwise, this trip is all about football.
"At the end of the day, we're going down there not to eat fish and chips, not to see the queen, but we're going down there to handle some business," Peko said.
"We're excited for the opportunity to go to London and play the Washington Redskins, who are a heck of a football team," said Whitworth. "The challenge is to try to get our season back to 4-4."
Whitworth was on concussion protocol and was just cleared to go Thursday morning.
England switches to standard time Sunday, so there will be a four-hour time difference at game time. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. in London, 9:30 a.m. in Cincinnati.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.