United Airlines Supports Special Olympics Athletes with Mileage Donations
In recognition of National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month, United Airlines has announced its initiative to raise airline miles for Special Olympics athletes. This effort aims to facilitate the travel of these athletes to various training sessions and competitions nationally and internationally.
Throughout October, United's pioneering crowdsourcing program, "Miles on a Mission," will emphasize its partnership with Special Olympics. The initiative encourages airline loyalty program members to donate their unused miles for this noble cause. In the previous year, Special Olympics athletes participated in an impressive tally of over 100,000 games, training, and competitions.
United's collaboration with the Special Olympics is multifaceted. Apart from the mileage donation drive, the airline supports the Special Olympics Plane Pull® competitions, local volunteer events, and the Special Olympics World Games. A significant milestone in their partnership was the 2019 launch of the Special Olympics Service Ambassador (SOSA) Program. Under this initiative, Special Olympics athletes are employed at various airports, assisting United customers with check-in procedures and navigation. Currently, 18 SOSAs are stationed at United's major hubs, including Chicago, Houston, Denver, and Washington, D.C.Advertising
Helon Hammond, VP of Global Learning, People & Community Impact for United, expressed the company's commitment to fostering an inclusive environment. Hammond stated, "Our partnership with Special Olympics is not just about raising miles. It's about empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities through various initiatives, including our SOSA program."
The miles donated play a crucial role in supporting the global travel of Special Olympics athletes. Since 2017, United's contributions to the Special Olympics, in terms of travel and monetary support, have exceeded $8.5 million. Such endeavors promote inclusivity and challenge preconceived notions about individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics, highlighted the significance of the partnership with United, emphasizing the opportunities it provides to athletes. ORD Service Ambassador Daniel Smrokowski, a testament to the success of the SOSA program, shared his positive experience working with United Airlines.
United's commitment to inclusivity is evident in its consistent top scores on the Disability Equality Index and its recognition as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion for eight consecutive years. The airline has also introduced several measures to enhance accessibility for its customers, including plans to improve the travel experience for wheelchair users, the introduction of Braille in aircraft interiors, and app redesigns to assist visually impaired users.
For those interested in supporting this cause, visit united.com/donate to donate miles to Special Olympics and explore the benefits of becoming a MileagePlus® Member.
About United Airlines
United Airlines, under the motto "Good Leads The Way," operates an extensive global route network from its U.S. hubs. As the world's largest airline by available seat miles, United is committed to excellence in service and inclusivity. For career opportunities and more information about the company, visit www.united.com.Advertising
About Special Olympics International
Established in 1968, Special Olympics is a global initiative to end discrimination against individuals with intellectual disabilities. It promotes acceptance and inclusivity through sports, education, health, and leadership programs. With a vast network of athletes, partners, coaches, and volunteers, Special Olympics organizes numerous Olympic-type sports and competitions annually. Connect with Special Olympics on social media platforms and learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.