NEWARK, N.J., June 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Chidinma, a 14-year-old Make-A-Wish recipient, has longed to tour Europe's most famous cities for as long as she can remember. On Tuesday, amidst the cheers and applause of a crowd of United Airlines employees and customers, Chidinma and her family boarded United flight 40 bound for Rome, ready for her wish to come true.
Since 1986, United and Make-A-Wish have teamed up to send children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions on the trip of a lifetime. Over the past three decades, MileagePlus members have made more than 98,000 individual donations, and the company and its customers have donated more than a total of 550 million miles to Make-A-Wish through United's MileagePlus Charity Miles program. Tuesday's festivities at Newark Liberty International Airport commemorated the airline's 10,000-ticket milestone, along with its lasting commitment to fulfilling the wishes of children like Chidinma.
"Here at United, our expansive route network enables us to connect passengers to exciting destinations all over the world. It also gives us an opportunity to connect thousands of special children to places they have only dreamed of," said Brett Hart, executive vice president and general counsel at United. "We are proud of our longstanding partnership with Make-A-Wish, and grateful to our customers who have generously donated their miles to help make children's wishes come true."
"It is an honor and a privilege to work with United, who has shown their dedication to wish kids and their families through their extraordinary miles donation," said David Williams, president and chief executive officer for Make-A-Wish America. "With nearly 75 percent of the wishes granted each year requiring travel, travel costs are our largest expense. United and their customers make wishes possible through their generous donation of miles each year."
Today, United also kicks off a miles drive to raise even more miles for Make-A-Wish. The airline invites customers to visit www.wish.org/united10K to donate miles to Make-A-Wish, and United will match donations up to a total of four million miles through July 31. For more information on United's Charity Miles program, visit secure.unitedmileageplus.com/CharityMilesSSO.jsp.
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true has positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illness, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Headquartered in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world's leading children's charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 28,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 35 minutes. It has granted more than 270,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 14,800 in 2015 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at www.wish.org to learn more.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,000 flights a day to 336 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated more than 1.5 million flights carrying more than 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 715 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 21 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 86,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
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SOURCE United Airlines