American Airlines Continues Its Commitment to Hurricane-Impacted Islands

Thursday, October 05, 2017, 11:05 AM

Bringing food, water and critical relief supplies

UNICEF Change for Good collections onboard and online throughout October will be matched by American and directed to relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Mexico

FORT WORTH, Texas – American Airlines team members from across the country have rallied together to support communities affected by the hurricane-ravaged islands in the Caribbean.

American was the first airline to arrive in San Juan, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria struck the island, cutting power and demolishing infrastructure. Since that time, the airline has provided more than 110 flights into and out of Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) and flown more widebody aircraft than any other passenger carrier, enabling the airline to transport significant amounts of passengers and relief supplies. The airline has continued to add flights in San Juan as the airport conditions improve.

“At every opportunity American team members have worked to bring aid to those impacted by the recent natural disasters and the people of Puerto Rico,” said Jim Butler, American’s Senior Vice President of International and Cargo Operations. “American was the first carrier to resume limited operations in San Juan and we have been able to upgrade to larger aircraft and reroute planes to make the biggest impact. Last week was the first time our 777-300ER touched down in Puerto Rico. Utilizing this aircraft allowed us to bring 50,326 pounds of support including food, water, medical supplies and more on a single flight.” 

More than 400 American Airlines team members live in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Through American’s response efforts, American team members are assisting affected communities in the following ways:

  • More than 110 flights into and out of Puerto Rico since Sept. 22.
  • Nine relief flights to St. Croix (STX), St. Maarten (SXM), St. Thomas (STT) and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos (PLS), providing humanitarian relief, including food, water, generators, medical supplies and other needs to team members and partner employees
  • More than 1.1 million pounds of relief supplies to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean
  • $1.96 million donated to the Red Cross since Aug. 25 through and the generosity of American’s customers to support efforts for recent natural disasters
  • $722,445 raised to support to impacted team members through the American Airlines Family Fund program
  • 4,532 packages of relief supplies sent from American Airlines team members to friends and family under a special donation program
  • More than 100 American Airlines team member volunteers traveled to San Juan to support recovery efforts


American already has transported more than 1.1 million pounds of cargo and relief items to the islands including water, food, medical supplies, tarps, cots, blankets, and cleaning supplies.

American waived size and weight restrictions as well as shipping costs so team members could send supplies and generators to their loved ones. More than 4,500 shipments totaling over 830,000 pounds of goods are being sent free of charge from American team members to their families in Puerto Rico.

Community Giving

American’s Change for Good® program with UNICEF will dedicate all funds raised during the month of October to the children impacted by hurricanes in the Caribbean, and the earthquakes in Mexico. American will match all contributions dollar-for-dollar. Change for Good® is a program in which American Airlines flight attendants serve as Champions for Children, collecting donations of cash or leftover coins on select international flights. Online donations can be made at and also are eligible for American’s match.

"Children affected by the devastation from recent hurricanes and earthquakes need urgent help, and UNICEF USA remains steadfast in its mission to put children first," said Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO at UNICEF USA. "American Airlines' commitment to match donations made through Change for Good® will be invaluable as we support the children and families who need it most."

The American Red Cross has activated its fullest resources in the impacted regions and American this week is transporting 25,000 pounds of relief items on behalf of the organization with more planned in the coming days and weeks.

Through and the generosity of American’s customers, the airline has helped raise nearly $2 million for the Red Cross, enabling the organization to purchase needed relief items on site, providing immediate support to the rescue effort.

“American Airlines has been an annual partner with the American Red Cross for eight years and they have continued to provide additional support to the Red Cross when called upon during historic disaster responses, such as Hurricane Maria,” said Noel Anderson, Red Cross National Fundraising Vice President. “Not only has American helped to raise an additional $2 million in support of recent disaster relief, they have provided hundreds of volunteer hours through their employees, assisted in securing much needed relief supplies to be distributed and ensured the transportation of these supplies to people in need. We are extremely thankful for our partnership with American Airlines, and the willingness of their team members to go above and beyond when called upon, as well as their annual commitment as an American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program member.”

American’s team members across the company are working to provide much needed food to hurricane victims.

  • In Miami,  200 American Airlines team member partnered with Feeding America, which works through its network of food banks to distribute products and supplies to those in need, to pack 5,000 boxes of essential food items. The kits are being distributed to Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, as well as throughout southern Florida.
  • Later this month American’s NYC team will also partner with Feeding America to assemble at least 5,000 food boxes, each of which can feed a family of four for two weeks, to be distributed to Banco Alimentos de Puerto Rico.
  • Next week members of American’s ORD team will work with Feed My Starving Children, who partners with local network of food distribution organizations to donate MannaPack meals and works to get life-saving nutrition into the hands of those who need it most. The event is expected to produce 100,000 meals, which will be delivered to support Puerto Rico recovery efforts.

Caring for Team Members

The first relief flight to San Juan on Sept. 22 not only brought more than 13,000 pounds of supplies, but also nearly 100 American team member volunteers—all with ties to Puerto Rico—who arrived to lend a helping hand.

“I had been wondering and praying how I could help,” commented William Piper, a DFW-based first officer who flew one of the rescue flights. “When I got the call for assistance from crew scheduling I did not hesitate to say yes. I am grateful that I was able to deliver much needed supplies and relief workers to help those in need.” 

“It hit close to home because I used to work with these guys,” said Angel Negron, a Miami-based aviation maintenance technician who staffed one of the flights to San Juan last week. “It was a fulfilling trip, one of those things in life that you really don’t expect to happen. I consider them my brothers and to be able to help them in this time of need was so fulfilling and brought me so much satisfaction.”

“It was a flight like no other,” said Jeannette Sykes, a Miami-based flight attendant who worked one of the relief flights to San Juan. “I was a witness to the compassion of every flight attendant on this trip. It was an emotional journey that I will remember for a long time.”

American matched donations to the American Airlines Family Fund, which assists team members during times of crisis. To-date, more than $720,000 (including company match) has been raised.


All one way nonstop fares to and from SJU, STT, STX, SXM and PLS have been capped at $99 for main cabin class and $199 for premium cabins through October 29.

American is also waiving bag fees for up to two checked bags up to 50 pounds each through October 29 for customers traveling to or from any of the cities listed above.


San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU): Flights to and from SJU resumed Sept. 22 out of MIA and PHL, and Sept. 29 out of ORD and CLT and Oct. 5 out of DFW.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT): On Sept. 28 American resumed service with one round trip flight daily.

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (STX): On October 3, American flew a relief flight bringing much needed supplies and evacuated people and anticipates scheduled service to resume today. 

The airline continues to monitor airport readiness in St. Maarten (SXM) and will resume service next week. 


About American Airlines Group
American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, whose members serve more than 1,000 destinations with about 14,250 daily flights to over 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at