On April 12, American Airlines, in collaboration with Make-A-Wish, The Points Guy and The Walt Disney Company, flew 26 critically ill children and their families from New York (JFK) to Orlando, Florida (MCO) on the Best Flight Ever to grant their wish of visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
“At American, we know firsthand how the magic of travel can inspire hope, promote relaxation and create lifelong happy memories — and that’s our wish for these special kids and their families,” said Caroline Clayton, American’s Vice President of Communications and Marketing.
“As the longest-standing airline partner of Make-A-Wish, we are especially proud to celebrate World Wish Day this year with a donation that ensures more families can have their own best flights for years to come.”
American chartered an aircraft for the first Best Flight Ever, staffed by an all-volunteer crew, and planned a one-of-a-kind gate celebration and inflight experience.
Upon arriving to the airport, a crowd of volunteers and supporters cheered for the families as they walked the red carpet to a pre-flight party, complete with face painting, music, treats and fun.
“The Best Flight Ever is part of the celebration of hope and community as we look forward to World Wish Day on April 29, the anniversary of the wish that inspired the founding of the organization more than 40 years ago,” said Leslie Motter, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America.
“From the very first wish until now, Make-A-Wish has been built and shaped by everyday people – like the supporters of this event.
“It’s been incredible to see American Airlines, Disney, and The Points Guy come together to create this unique experience for our wish kids to inspire the hope, strength, and joy we want our families to feel.”
Onboard the Best Flight Ever, families enjoyed live entertainment from actor and recording artist Michael James Scott, currently starring as Genie in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway.
The flight, emceed by Brian Kelly of The Points Guy, also featured interactive games, a special inflight menu and other surprises.
The aircraft received a water cannon salute on both legs of the trip and a VIP welcome at MCO.
“After years of planning, it was such a dream to finally take 26 Make-A-Wish kids and their families on the Best Flight Ever to Walt Disney World,” Kelly said.
“I’m so grateful to Make-A-Wish, American Airlines and all of our partners and volunteers for helping bring this magical experience to life.
“Travel has the power to change lives, and having the opportunity to share this joy with so many deserving children and families was one of the most memorable experiences of my lifetime.”