Southwest Makes Travel One Less Burden For Patients By Providing More Than $2.8 Million In Free Flights Through Medical Transportation Grant Program

Nearly 100 Hospitals and Medical Organizations Impacted in 2014
Feb 6, 2014 11:00 AM ET

DALLAS, Feb. 6, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) announced today that 73 nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations from across the nation have been selected for the Southwest Airlines 2014 Medical Transportation Grant Program, with the total impact touching 99 facilities. Through the program, participating nonprofit hospitals and medical programs can provide complimentary, roundtrip airline tickets to families who are facing serious illness and need to travel for specialized medical care. Being able to fly for free to receive the best medical treatment available eases the financial burden on families, giving those who are already facing so much one less thing to worry about. In 2014, Southwest will provide more than $2.8 million in free transportation to caregivers and patients seeking medical treatment. For a full list of 2014 participants, please visit

“Partnering with these hospitals and organizations to provide hope for those dealing with serious illness is an honor for us,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Communication and Outreach. “It’s touched our hearts to be able to connect our flights with the hospitals’ care, and see the amazing difference this unique program is making to families in our communities.”

Since the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program’s inception seven years ago, more than 33,000 tickets, totaling $13.2 million in free transportation, have been distributed to organizations in 26 states, making a positive difference in the lives of more than 26,000 patients. The program is making a difference in Toby Shaw’s life. Toby battles arthrogryposis, which affects the joints in his arms and wrists. Through the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program, he’s able to travel from his home in Ohio to Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia to receive the best treatment available for his condition. Visit the NUTS About Southwest blog to see Toby’s story, hear directly from one family who benefitted from the program, and read about the experiences of other patients and families who have been recipients.

“I’m grateful our hospital is able to partner with Southwest Airlines to provide Toby and so many other patients like him the best treatment for their conditions,” said Dr. Dan Zlotolow, Orthopedic Surgeon at Shriners Hospital for Children. “Together, we are able to offer our patients a long-term treatment plan without worrying about the burden of travel costs.”

One new community that will benefit from the 2014 Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program is San Diego, with first-time recipients Scripps Health and Rady Children’s Hospital joining other world-renowned hospitals such as The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

To learn about qualifications for travel assistance through the designated organizations, please contact the Social Work, Travel/Concierge Service, or Patient Assistance Department directly at each location, as each has unique guidelines for the administration of tickets.


In its 43rd 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.  Southwest is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, and including wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 96 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries. 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 2012 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at

Southwest Airlines

From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel quantified by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves.  On every flight, Southwest offers Customers the first two pieces of checked luggage (weight and size limitations apply) and all ticket changes without additional fees. Southwest’s all Boeing fleet consistently offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, many of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity and a new, sustainable cabin interior.  With 40 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest operate nearly than 3,200 flights a day and serve communities around 89 airports in Southwest’s network of domestic destinations.  Southwest Airlines’ frequent flights and low fares are available only at

AirTran Airways

AirTran Airways, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co., offers coast-to-coast and near-international service with nearly 500 flights a day to 44 destinations.  The carrier’s high-quality product includes assigned seating and Business Class. As Southwest continues to integrate AirTran’s People, places, and planes into Southwest Airlines, Customers of both carriers may book flights at and exchange earned loyalty points between both AirTran’s A+ Rewards® and Southwest’s Rapid Rewards® for reward travel on either airline.