Even though air travel and passenger traffic have been down significantly for airlines around the world, they are still doing their part to support the public during this pandemic. Many airlines are running repatriation flights, some are flying their aircraft to collect and deliver distant medical supplies. And then there are airlines like JetBlue, helping medical professionals get to places where they are needed most – for free.
Transporting medical professionals (and medical supplies)
“Air travel is an essential global service and we are committed to meeting travel needs, some of which are critical. During this time of uncertainty, we remain committed to our mission of Inspiring Humanity and our social impact pillars – community and youth/education. This includes our main resources – flights and assets from our network of partners.”
The airline says that it is currently working with a number of community non-profit partners as well as NGOs to “help get medical professionals and much-needed supplies to the places where they are needed most”.
Medical professionals willing to take JetBlue up on the offer must do the following:
- Specify the hospital/organization you are associated with or directly supporting.
- If traveling to provide medical support, you may be asked to provide the contact name and email address for your affiliated host. (i.e., staffing coordinator, administrator, etc.). and your medical identification number (if applicable)
The airline is accepting requests via a special email address: email@example.com
However, the airline says that the team managing this initiative may take some time to respond due to the volume of requests. The estimated response time is two to three days.
A similar initiative at Delta
Last week, fellow US carrier Delta Air Lines announced that it would offer free flights for medical volunteers. More specifically, the offer of round-trip tickets for eligible medical volunteers are to be issued free of charge heading to three states: Georgia, Louisiana, and Michigan.
“We are witnessing the heroic efforts of our medical professionals around the world as they combat COVID-19, and we have deep gratitude for their selfless sacrifice … Air travel plays a significant role in making connections in both good and challenging times, and our hope is that offering free travel gives more of these professionals the ability to help in critical areas of the U.S.” -Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer
The volunteers will work in coordination with state and local governments, deploying to hospitals in areas hardest hit by the virus.
Also assisting students
Interestingly, the airline is also providing flights to select students who need assistance getting to family and friends or a permanent housing situation. With the immediacy of the crisis several weeks ago, many students were forced to vacate their dormitories and on-campus housing. Some had very little notice.
“As dorms and school housing are being shut down, some students are vulnerable to being displaced, especially foster youth dependent upon college housing,” the airline says on their website. This initiative is being carried out with a non-profit organization by the name of Together We Rise. Together, they will provide flights to students needing help getting to family and friends or a permanent housing situation.
Those interested and eligible should provide an image of their current (unexpired) student ID and/or proof of enrollment from an accredited educational institution to the email address provided above.
It looks like JetBlue is doing amazing work and going far above and beyond what is required of the relatively small airline. From transporting medical professionals and supplies to helping stranded students, the work of this airline sets a great example for airlines around the world.
We emailed JetBlue, who confirmed the above information. For further details, you can check out their special webpage on the topic.