By Kaela Dockray ’20
In a time where the lives and homes of millions have been threatened by the wrath of Mother Nature, a wave of kindness from corporate America has flooded our borders. As a result of the unimaginable destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, a natural disaster that may prove to be one of the costliest in U.S. history, many American companies have taken initiatives to help those in their time of need.
One of the most well known and impactful initiatives was taken by Jetblue after Floridians, aiming to evacuate the state, took to social media to complain about the significant price increases by both Delta and American Airlines after one-way ticket fares rose from around $500 to over $5,000. Twitter user @Leighdow, who tried leaving Miami for Arizona, shared an image on Twitter showing her Delta flight that had gone from $547.50 to $3,258.50. “Shame on you @delta. Jacking from $547 to over $3200 for people trying to evacuate responsibly?”
In response to the growing anger and concern from the public, Jetblue began offering $99.00 seats on flights from South Florida and other regions impacted by the effects of Irma. The fares were available until Sept. 13, and were for non-stop flights from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, the Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos and Haiti. JetBlue’s measures seemed to force other airlines to drop their fares, as American Airlines soon announced that they were capping fares at $99.00 as well.
“We want those trying to leave ahead of the hurricane to focus on their safe evacuation rather than worry about the cost of flights,” JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw said.
Lydia Donovan ’19, takes Jetblue’s initiative close to heart. With an older sister attending the College of Charleston, a university located in an area that was flooded by Irma, it was imperative for Donovan’s family that her sister return home safely before the storm hit. Thanks to Jetblue, Donovan’s sister and friends were able to evacuate with ease. “My family and I are so grateful for the initiatives JetBlue has taken to ensure the safety of not only my sister, but the millions of others who are at potential risk,” Donovan said.
Jetblue is not alone in their efforts to aid Irma relief. Companies including Apple, AT&T, Bank of America and Paypal have donated millions of dollars to a variety of organizations devoted to rebuilding communities destroyed by this natural disaster.
Nina Radman ’20, appreciates the measures these corporations are taking for the greater good: “In a world where there seems to be so much negativity, it is refreshing to hear about all of these companies taking measures to make the world a better place,” Radman said.
Many of these corporations have invested large sums of money into “Hand and Hand,” a telethon whose aim is to raise money for victims of both Hurricane Irma and Harvey. The hour long special that aired on Sept. 12 included performances by Beyonce, Justin Bieber, George Clooney, Drake, Jimmy Fallon and many others.
“Over 2,000 call center volunteers stationed throughout the country [were] on hand to take donations,” the ABC website stated in a promotion for the telethon. Over 44 million dollars was raised for Hurricane Irma and Harvey survivors.
Maya Reiner ’21 is inspired by the efforts taken by these major corporations and organizations. “They are leading by example and proving to our nation how important it is to aid the victims of this natural disaster,” Reiner said. “We must do whatever we can to rebuild the communities that were destroyed as a result of Irma.”
Graphic designed by Jordi Katz ’20