Jet Blue surprises Dominican families with a free trip home

Imagine sitting down at the dinner table, wistfully reminiscing about your home in a far-away land, hoping to revisit it some day. Now imagine, minutes later, being handed free tickets to do exactly that. That’s precisely what happened to a few New York-based Dominican families, when JetBlue hosted a dinner under the pretext of filming a documentary. The meal ended with the airline offering everyone complimentary round-trip tickets home.

As part of its brand mission to “inspire humanity,” the airline sent 28 people to the Dominican Republic on a free holiday last month to visit their families, as a part of a program it called “Un Sabor de Casa” (“A Taste of Home”).

Among those sent home was the Delgadillo clan, a family of six that left more than two decades ago:

“JetBlue is always looking for new ways to engage with our customers and their families,” Marty St. George, JetBlue’s senior vice president of marketing, told Digiday. “We have an outstanding presence in the Dominican Republic, and with the largest Dominican population outside the DR here in our hometown of New York, we wanted to acknowledge our customers and communities.”

St. George added that the brand was a bit wary of the timing of the initiative — and that it wasn’t intended to be a holiday campaign at all.

“These connections to home are certainly more universally felt during the holidays, but the connections to our homes, our cultures and our heritage are year round,” he said.

This isn’t the first feel-good initiative by JetBlue this year, either. For Thanksgiving, the airline partnered with Zappos to convert Nov. 26 — arguably the worst travel day of the year — into the “Happiest Travel Day,” by greeting flyers with goodies, coupons and merchandise at both the arrival and departure terminals of the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

JetBlue also runs other programs in the Dominican Republic, including one that combines volunteerism and travel, giving customers traveling to the island a chance to volunteer at local schools.

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