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If you’ve ever read my column before, you already know that I love the airline business. Air travel breaks down barriers, enriches lives and perhaps most importantly, it brings people together — literally and physically, it brings us together. At American Airlines, we recently launched an initiative that we think has the potential to bring people together, online, to help people in need all over the world. AA.com/JoinUs is a website we created to highlight a number of very worthy causes we support. Our hope, naturally, is that you will visit the site and be inspired to “join us.”

One of the causes that has long been important to us is the fight against breast cancer. We have been partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the premier network of breast-cancer survivors and activists, for more than a quarter of a century. At AA.com/JoinUs, you can enlist in the fight in a number of ways. Through a program we call Miles for the Cure, we will award you five AAdvantage miles for every dollar you donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure between now and the end of this year. Also through the end of this year, you can give the gift of travel to someone in the form of an AA Gift Card, and we will give five dollars to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for every 50 dollars of travel you purchase. See the website for all of the details.

Another cause the people of AA are passionate about is providing support to the men and women of the U.S. military and to their families. One of the many ways we do this is by assisting the USO, an organization devoted to lifting the spirits of our troops. AA is the official airline of the USO, and similar to what we are doing with the Gift Card, we recently launched a program whereby you can purchase an AA Gift Card, select the USO option, and we will give five dollars to the USO for every 50 dollars of travel purchased. Again, please visit AA.com/JoinUs for details, and while you’re there, I hope you will also take a few moments to watch two television commercials we recently produced (titled “Thank You” and “Putting Them First”) as a public expression of our gratitude to our veterans and their families.

Of all the initiatives described at AA.com/JoinUs, probably none resonate as universally as our efforts to help children. I’m sure many of you are aware of the Change for Good program, the long-running campaign of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), whereby any unused currency our international travelers care to donate is collected by our flight attendants and passed on to UNICEF to be used to provide medicine, immunizations, clean water and other lifesaving assistance to vulnerable children in more than 150 countries around the world. Change for Good is just one of the ways we’re tapping the generosity of our customers and the passion of our people to help kids. The Miles for Kids in Need program is another great example. This program is devoted to improving the quality of life for children with medical, educational or other needs and heightening public awareness of children’s issues. AAdvantage members have been donating miles through this program since 1989, contributing more than 30 million miles last year alone.

While we are proud of the initiatives we have created to support these and all of the causes described at AA.com/JoinUs, we know their effectiveness rests ultimately on your support and generosity. So thank you for joining us in these very worthy endeavors and of course for choosing to fly with us today. Have a great trip.

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Gerard J. Arpey
Chairman & CEO
American Airlines