In the face of disaster in Haiti, many brands are doing whatever they can to help, from the obvious big-name aide organizations like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders to all four major cell-phone service providers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) who have pledged to waive texting fees for SMS donations. Another industry, however, is also doing its part with the resources it has: Travel service brands.
In addition to matching up to $50,000 in customer and employee donations through its Charity Miles program, United Airlines has reported it's working with relief agencies to assist with airlift needs.
British Airways planes, crewed by volunteers, are flying emergency service supplies to Haiti. The brand's chief executive said, "The situation in Haiti is desperate and we must do what we can to help."
Spirit Airlines is offering 5,000 Free Spirit miles to those who donate at least $5 to the Red Cross, UNICEF or Yéle Haiti. For Free Spirit program members, that's enough for a free flight. Spirit Airlines CEO and president said, “Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the people in Haiti during this terrible tragedy... Our initial focus is on raising funds for relief agencies that are best equipped to aid in the overall relief and Spirit stands ready to give a billion miles to those that assist in this effort.” Spirit Airlines has been flying to Haiti since 2007.
American Airlines has flown three 10,000-pound-supply relief flights to Haiti and plans more. Jet Blue is flying aide workers to Haiti's neighbor, the Dominican Republic
Continental Airlines' OnePass frequent flyer members can donate miles to pre-selected organizations. The airline brand is also waiving various fees for travel to the Dominican Republic.
The biggest cruise lines are also pledging their ocean-going resources to the crisis. Norwegian Cruise Lines is stocking its ships in Florida to take aide to the island nation in concert with collecting, and matching, donations from passengers currently aboard its vessels. And Royal Caribbean International's chief executive wrote on his blog:
"We loaded Independence of the Seas with relief supplies today at San Juan, Puerto Rico, which included 60 cases of badly needed water and other dry goods. We have also started to receive additional provisions, including four truckloads of drinking water, from our suppliers at our logistic center, which we are preparing to load on to Navigator of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, to arrive on Monday and Tuesday."
However, some have apparently seen the crisis as an opportunity to cause confusion about at least one of the airline brand's efforts to help. Yesterday, Twitter lit up with American Airline's offer to fly doctors and medical professionals to the island for free. One problem: "Last night's hoax on Twitter about American and JetBlue flying doctors and nurses to Haiti for free was just that -- a hoax. We don't know who is responsible, but it's a very low thing to do." That was an American spokesperson's response to CNN.
Of course, these travel services all hope that a little of the good will rubs off on their respective brands, as it should.