U.S. Airlines Are Supporting Relief Efforts in Ukraine — How Passengers Can Help
Several airlines in the United States have stepped up to support relief efforts in Ukraine, donating money and allowing customers to donate their frequent flier miles.
United Airlines is encouraging passengers to donate either money or their MileagePlus miles, which the company would then match up to $100,000 and 5 million miles, the carrier shared with Travel + Leisure this week. The funds will then be distributed to several nonprofits, including Airlink, which transports relief workers and emergency supplies, as well as World Central Kitchen, which was founded by celebrity chef José Andrés and provides meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises.
"The human tragedy we are witnessing in Ukraine is horrifying and has shocked us all so we're doing our part to quickly help get aid to the people who desperately need relief," United President Brett Hart said in a statement provided to T+L. "Our partners have been on the ground for more than a week and it's clear they need more resources to fulfill their mission of flying workers and supplies to and from the frontlines of this crisis."
American Airlines also started collecting money this week both online and in-flight by flight attendants to be donated to UNICEF and its efforts in Ukraine, according to the airline. Additionally, all AAdvantage miles donated to the carrier's Miles for Social Good program this month will also be directed to Airlink.
Delta Air Lines donated $100,000 each to both the American Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, according to the carrier.
Russia first began its invasion of Ukraine with a series of missile strikes in late February. Nearly two weeks later, the fighting was still ongoing and more than 2 million refugees have been forced to flee the country, Reuters reported.
The travel industry has reacted to the invasion, with several companies canceling cruises and tours that previously included Russia on their itineraries. Several organizations have also stepped up to help the people of Ukraine with basic needs from food to housing and more. And people have booked Ukrainian Airbnb stays they don't intend to use in the thousands in an effort to directly support hosts in the country.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.