Most commercial airline companies maintain charitable giving programs that improve the lives of customers and their communities locally and around the world. Most airlines donate primarily to registered 501(c)(3) organizations through a predetermined application process. Additionally, many encourage employees and customers to volunteer time and energy to worthy organizations. Charitable organizations supported by airlines include those that support the environment, education, medical research, disaster relief, environment and conservation and wounded veterans, as well as charities that help the hungry and homeless.

Global Giving

Many large airlines leverage global connections and influence to support charitable efforts around the world. American Airlines maintains a number of giving programs, both at home and abroad; for example, the company provides support to people impacted by natural disasters around the world. American Airlines, at the time of publication, also trains first responders who respond to major accidents and emergencies. Delta Airlines, at the time of publication, supports the Foundation for Aids Research (amFAR), an international organization that supports AIDs and HIV research, prevention, education and advocacy around the world. Delta also supports CARE, a humanitarian organization that provides aid to the some of the world's poorest communities.

Community Involvement

While United Airlines supports a number of global charities, the company focuses primarily on organizations in local communities across the United States, specifically hub locations where most employees and customers live and work. At the time of publication, the company sponsors worthy causes such as the American Cancer Society, Feeding America, American Red Cross and Make-a-Wish foundation via in-kind donations and volunteerism. Frontier Airlines supports registered organizations that meet certain criteria, such as The American Cancer Society, Fisher House Foundation, Make-a-Wish Foundation of Colorado and Children's Hospital Colorado, at the time of publication.

Employee Giving

Many airlines include organized employee volunteerism and giving programs in comprehensive outreach efforts. For example, Southwest Airlines maintains, at the time of publication, Community Giving Boards, which are operated by trained employees that evaluate requests from local communities. Southwest supports a number of organizations, including those that help families facing serious illnesses, military personnel and families, disaster response and preparedness, the environment and youth leadership. Jet Blue, at the time of publication, maintains an extensive giving program, including an innovative partnership that connects volunteer employees and customers with local and national organizations.

Donating Miles

Most airlines encourage customers to support worthy organizations through donation of frequent flyer miles. Hawaiian Airlines, at the time of publication, offers a Hawaiian Miles program that matches donated miles with participating charities at the end of each year. Organizations receiving miles include Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project and Read Aloud America. Alaska Airlines provides a charity miles program that helps support the Seattle Children's Hospital, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Hospital and Angel Flight West, among others. Many airlines support programs that provide donated miles to wounded and ill military members and their friends and families.