American Airlines, fresh off the retirement of the MD-80 fleet, has unveiled a new look for one of their Airbus A321 aircraft. American already has a small sub-fleet of specially painted heritage livery aircraft celebrating all of the airlines that make up the current airline today. This special scheme is different. It honors those fighting cancer.
In a statement today, American said that the A321 features 22,627 names of cancer survivors, patients and those we have lost to cancer. Names were submitted by the public throughout the month of July, all of whom donated $25 or more to have their loved one’s name added to the plane, resulting in more than $825,000 for cancer research.
Each person fighting cancer has a story. American shared two unique stories. One is Patrick Swayze, a pilot himself, who was added to the plane by his wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi Swayze. Among the names is also Tug McGraw, added by his son Tim McGraw, who lent his talent to promote the fundraising campaign in this year’s public service announcement.
Inaugural flight carried cancer survivors
To celebrate the flight of the newly painted aircraft, American flew cancer survivors from Los Angeles LAX airport to Orlando, Florida. Before the flight, passengers were greeted by the Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders. Onboard the jet, they were treated to entertainment by Noah Schnacky and comedian Marina Franklin.
The aircraft was crewed by volunteers who themselves all had connections to cancer. According the press release, “one of the pilots will be American Airlines First Officer Brandon Bailey, who appeared in the Stand Up To Cancer PSA alongside Tim McGraw. Bailey Stands Up for his mother, Machelle, who faced cancer while Brandon was deployed to Afghanistan.”
Upon arrival at Orlando, passengers will receive VIP treatment as they enjoy a day at Universal Studios Orlando.
Stand Up To Cancer Plane Labor Of Love by Maintenance Personnel
American’s official Stand Up To Cancer plane was unveiled to American Airlines team members at the company’s Base Maintenance facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, yesterday. Over three days, Tech Ops – Tulsa team members carefully added 22,627 names to the aircraft exterior.
Once complete, the plane was ferried from Tulsa to LA for the inaugural flight. After the weekend concludes, the American Airlines’ official Stand Up To Cancer aircraft will re-enter American’s fleet.