Carl Icahn has set his sights on JetBlue with his recent $200 million purchase of the airline’s shares this past…
American Flies Gold Star Families to Orlando in Massive Airlift
The Fort Worth-based airline donated 11 aircraft and 700 tickets as part of its annual Snowball Express event in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation.
American Airlines has partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to once again transport Gold Star families as part of Snowball Express, an annual event that brings together the surviving spouses and children of fallen military service members for a five-day experience at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
The Snowball Express program is more than just a vacation to the happiest place on earth. It’s an opportunity for families to connect with others who understand their loss and to create new memories during the holiday season.
This year, the Fort Worth-based airline donated 11 aircraft and over 700 tickets to ensure that family members from regions across the world would have the opportunity to participate in the event. Over 1,800 family members from 80 different locations participated in the airlift from as far away as Australia, Guam, and Europe.
“With the families of our fallen heroes for our Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express Annual event as they depart to the most magical place on Earth, Disney World. We’re taking over 1,800 family members, the children and surviving spouses,” actor Gary Sinise said on his Facebook page.
“It’s always an honor to wrap my arms around them and remind them we do not forget their hero. Thank you to our presenting sponsor American Airlines for taking extra care of these special families, providing 11 chartered planes,” he added.
An Annual Airlift
Since 2006, American has partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to transport Gold Star families around the holidays. The airline provides both donated charter aircraft and tickets as part of the annual charity effort.
Also donating their time are the crew members on each of the 11 charter aircraft along with teams on the ground supporting them. Both pilots and flight attendants have the opportunity to volunteer on Snowball Express flights every year.
During the send-off event at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), American Airlines COO David Seymour shared that the demand is so high for volunteers that not everyone is chosen. Being the airline’s largest hub, DFW typically has the biggest Snowball Express event.
From DFW, 284 people boarded a holiday-decorated Boeing 787-9 aircraft – the largest aircraft in the Snowball Express airlift. Before departure, the airline’s employees decorate each of the charter aircraft’s cabins with a holiday theme.
American and the Gary Sinise Foundation operate the charter flights from some of the carrier’s hubs and also select military towns. Several cities from Seattle to Fayetteville, N.C. saw a Snowball Express flight pass through on Saturday, with some making stops to pick up more families en route to Orlando.
- Livery of the Week: Sun Country Goes From Bland to Bold - February 23, 2024
- Delta Plans New Seasonal Route to Brisbane - February 23, 2024
- United Adds New Guam-Tokyo Haneda Route - February 23, 2024
Subscribe to AirlineGeeks' Daily Check-In
Receive a daily dose of the airline industry's top stories along with market insights right in your inbox.
The aviation industry encountered unprecedented challenges during the global pandemic, yet African airlines have showcased resilience. According to a report…
Emirates has become the second major airline customer to put pressure on Boeing after last month’s 737 MAX 9 door…