Southwest Airlines wants to get passengers where they need to go when it matters most: The major airline has donated 7,500 roundtrip flights to those in need of urgent medical care, relieving a financial burden for patients and their caregivers.
Southwest announced the donation on Tuesday, with the tickets awarded to over 75 nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations across the U.S. The transportation is valued at $3 million, the carrier said.
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“As the airline with heart, we have a passion for making a meaningful difference in the communities we serve,” Laura Nieto, Director of Community Outreach, said in a news release.
“Through our Medical Transportation Grant Program, our hope is to ease the financial burden of air travel expenses and provide a critical lifeline for patients and caregivers, allowing them to stay focused on medical treatment and recovery.”
Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program distributes tickets for those who need to travel “for life-changing or specialized medical care,” according to the statement. In 2021, the airline is supporting hospitals in 26 states through the effort; the full list of participating groups is available here.
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Southwest has also donated nearly $39 million to the charitable cause since the program was launched in 2007. To date, the airline has provided free travel for over 96,000 patients and caregivers.