As of August 2022, American Airlines (AA) customers have reportedly donated over $1 Million Dollars to the American Red Cross in aid of Maui wildfire relief.
The devastating wildfires are marked as the deadliest in US history. First breaking out in Maui earlier this month, the wildfires soon spread to the town of Lahaina, population 12,000. Many of the victims of the fire come from the town. The death toll currently stands at 115. An estimated 388 residents of the island are unaccounted for.
In a scheme to encourage donations to the Red Cross, AAdvantage® bonus miles will be awarded to customers who donate over $25 to the fund. For every dollar a customer donates, they are awarded 10 AAdvantage bonus miles. The airline also asserts that any employees on the island will receive assistance from the American Airlines Family Fund. This non-profit primarily relies on payroll deductions from AA’s staff.
AA has also operated 21 evacuation flights since August 9th, evacuating over 4,200 customers from the island. Additionally, their team is working alongside nonprofits Feeding America and Baby 2 Baby to provide water, blankets, and hygiene products to the residents of Maui. Customers bringing essential supplies to the island will have luggage fees waived by the airline. Because the state of Hawaii has discouraged all non-essential travel to the island, a flexible re-booking policy has been implemented by the airline for any customers who booked a flight for the end of August.
AA is just one Airline among many attempting to speed up the evacuation process. Hawaiian Airlines priced flights from Kahulai to Honolulu at just $19 dollars. Delta Air Lines has contributed $250,000 to the Red Cross and is now focusing on providing evacuations and food to affected residents. Alaska Airways has set up rescue flights and transported over 189,000 lbs of relief supplies to the island.
Southwest, the second-largest carrier in Hawaii, has introduced a $19 interisland fare and lowered the pet fare to just $1 to further facilitate evacuations from the island. Additionally, Southwest has stated that they will allow customers to change flights initially headed to Maui to other islands with no fare changes within a fortnight of their original date of travel. The airline also proclaimed that they had donated over $100,000 in cash and air travel “in the early days of the emergency response”.
How can I support the Maui relief effort?
Hawaiian Airlines offers a scheme where customers can donate airmiles to charities such as the American Red Cross. At the end of every year, the Airline matches donations of up to 500,000 miles with each charity.
During August, The Alaska Air Disaster Relief Pool will donate all CARE Miles contributions to the Kanu Hawaii and Maui Rapid Response. These miles will help evacuate the island’s residents affected by the fire. Alaska Air has donated 5 million air miles to the effort and promises to match further the first million miles donated by their customers.
The Hawaiian Council is working to match every donation to the Kāko’o Maui Fund, which works to provide shelter, food and financial assistance to those affected by the wildfires.