Uplifting use of a United plane delivery

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Aviation and airlines, in particular, do not always get full credit for what they do. This may be a bit biased, but it seems as though the companies and their employees are easy targets for critiques about high fares (not), noise (the best in decades) and poor service (maybe not the best, but a whole lot better than cable companies, computer service hotlines and the #1 favorite, the IRS). Here is a story about an airline which has been a major supporter of a charity. They used/created a special event which increased donations by $1M.

United has been a sponsor of the March of Dimes, which has focused on pregnancy and having healthy babies as their target of their fund-raising. This is the 19th anniversary of the airline’s relationship with the charity. That milestone was proximate in date to a significant point in an airline operation—the delivery of a new airplane. Some creative genius married those two moments into a celebration.

United ordered the aircraft in special March of Dimes livery that announces the relationship and heightens the public awareness of this group:

Even better than a 60 second advertisement at the Super Bowl, this aerial billboard will be seen everywhere it flies and as long as the paint scheme remains.


The flight roster started with the March’s 2015 National Ambassador 12-year old Elijah Jackson who survived being born nearly four months premature. His mother Elise is a long-time United Airlines employee. That’s a wonderful connection to motivate the company and its employees. Further John Rainey, United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and the 2015 March for Babies National Chairman, added these comments:

“Our ‘purple plane’ is more than just a fun and unique paint job – it’s a symbol of the long-standing partnership between our customers and employees and the March of Dimes….We know that so many people who fly with us have been touched by the issue of premature birth, and we hope that as customers spot this plane flying around the country, we can bring continued awareness and support to this very important issue.”

The person in charge of this manifestation of United’s commitment to the March of Dimes saw a fund-raising opportunity. The eleemosynary institution’s major donors were invited to fly on this “inaugural” aircraft delivery. That stimulus resulted in another $750,000 and a $250,000 from Boeing donations. That’s quite a confluence of good actions.

Thanks again to Boeing’s master blogger, Randy Tinseth, for writing about such an excellent aviation event!!

BLOG: Purple plane

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