DALLAS, Aug. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) invites nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations to apply for the 2015 Medical Transportation Grant Program. The program is designed to ease the financial burden on families confronting serious medical problems that require travel for treatment. Southwest donates roundtrip airline tickets to nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations in the program, and empowers the organizations to distribute the tickets to patients as they see best based on individuals' needs. In 2014, Southwest donated more than $2.8 million in complimentary airfare through the program. Hospitals and medical transportation charities can apply by visiting http://www.southwest.com/medicalgrant now through Tuesday, Sept. 30.
"At Southwest, everything we do is from the heart. Our Medical Transportation Grant Program is no different, as we embrace those individuals and families who require critical and specialized treatment," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines' Vice President Communication and Outreach. "From lessening the financial burden on families needing to travel for treatment to partnering with medical organizations, we are proud of the many ways this program is making a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors and the communities we serve."
The Medical Transportation Grant Program began as a response to a need that was repeatedly expressed to Southwest—families facing serious illnesses needed to travel for treatment. When the Medical Transportation Grant Program launched in 2008, Southwest donated 1,700 tickets to 13 hospitals and organizations. What started as a small effort to make a difference has grown into a nationwide movement, benefiting thousands of individuals and hundreds of communities. Southwest has donated more than $13.2 million in free airfare since the program began seven years ago. Last year, Southwest's Medical Transportation Grant Program served patients seeking medical treatment at nearly 100 hospitals and organizations nationwide, including the internationally-recognized Shepherd Center.
"Southwest's Medical Transportation Grant Program has been a tremendous benefit to our patients and their families," said Gary R. Ulicny, Ph.D, President and CEO at Shepard Center. "With catastrophic injuries, it is essential for a patient's loved ones to be part of the rehabilitation and recovery process. This program provides that opportunity for families who might otherwise not be able to afford the travel costs."
More than 33,000 patients' lives have been positively impacted through this unique program. Read personal stories of patients who have benefitted from the Medical Transportation Grant Program on the NUTS About Southwest blog.
Each participating hospital and nonprofit has unique guidelines for the administration of tickets. To learn about qualifications for travel assistance, please contact the specific hospital or nonprofit organization.
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. In its 44th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 45,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The airline also operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 93 destinations in 40 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries. Some flights are operated by wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2013 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at southwest.com/citizenship.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. With Southwest Airlines, Bags Fly Free ® (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply), and there are no change fees (fare difference may apply) when you need to change your flight. Southwest's fleet offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, a majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity over the United States, which enables live and video-on-demand TV currently FREE compliments of DISH, and a new, sustainable cabin interior. Southwest acquired AirTran Airways in May 2011 and by the end of 2014 intends to complete the full integration of the AirTran network into Southwest. With 41 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest and AirTran operate more than 3,600 flights a day. Southwest Airlines' frequent flights and low fares are available online at southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.
SOURCE Southwest Airlines