Why Southwest Is Giving Away 10,000 Free Flights
The program is in its 10th year.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is giving away 10,000 free flights to patients and their families who need to fly for medical care, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The airline has donated flights in the past for this same purpose, but this is the largest scale so far. Southwest partnered with 75 hospitals and medical organizations and is giving them discretion concerning which patients get the tickets.
“We really believe it is our responsibility to give back, and one of the best ways we can give back is through air travel,” Debra Benton, Southwest’s director of community relations and charitable giving, told the Dallas Morning News.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Southwest's Medical Transportation Grant Program. Over the past decade they have donated 59,050 tickets valued at $23 million. For the anniversary, Southwest partnered with Musicians on Call, a non-profit that brings live music to patients in need.
"We are a company with heart and we are honored to have been able to connect people with the medical treatment they need for the last 10 years," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines vice president, in a press release.
American, Continental, Delta, and United all offer reduced fares for family emergencies and bereavement, according to USA Today.