Instead of beating up airlines for making us crazy by finding new ways to charge us more money for things like pillows, checked baggage and seats with leg room, it’s time to recognize how airlines step forward when there is a crisis and turn into good guys.
Delta is pledging $1 million in cash and in-kind support to relief efforts, and already donated $250,000 to kick-start the effort. Delta’s efforts focus on the American Red Cross and the Japanese Red Cross Society. Delta passengers and employees are being encouraged to donate through a dedicated Delta-Red Cross website. You can also donate Delta SkyMiles to help transport relief workers and supplies to Japan. Delta will match donated miles up to five million miles total miles donated. This is through Delta’s SkyWishAsia program in partnership with the relief organization World Vision Japan.
United and Continental are transporting doctors and other health care workers, and is donating cargo space to transport relief supplies to Japan. Also, the two airlines, which merged recently, are giving bonus frequent flyer miles to members who contribute at least $50 cash donation to the Amererican Red Cross. That applies to United Mileage Plus members and to Continental OnePass members. You can donate through a dedicated United- Continental-Red Cross website, then email the receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, for United, or email@example.com for Continental.
Even AeroMexico, with just three flights a week between Mexico City and Tokyo, is transporting non-perishable food and medicines donated by Mexican organizations and the public.
Boeing and its 160,000 employees worldwide are contributing $20 to the relief efforts, through the Red Cross.
Hotel companies also have mobilized to help Japan. Best Western, which is the second-largest hotel group in Japan, is encouraging members of its Rewards frequent-stay program to donate 4,000 points — equal to $15 — or more to World Vision, Best Western’s official charity partner. Best Western also has a dedicated website for Japan relief donations.
Tomorrow I might return to bashing airlines for delayed flights and stale peanuts, and hotels for charging me ridiculous ‘resort fees’ and internet connection fees, but not today. Today, they deserve thanks for stepping up to the plate and helping ease the suffering caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunamis.