Snowball Express brightens holidays for families of fallen heroes

Passengers disembark the American Airlines Snowball Express flight.
Photo Credit: American Airlines

In a heart-warming collaboration, American Airlines joined forces with the Gary Sinise Foundation for the annual Snowball Express event, a poignant tribute to those who have lost loved ones while serving in the nation’s military.

This year marked a significant expansion of the event, spanning two weeks and including families of fallen first responders.

American Airlines generously donated charter aircraft and tickets on pre-scheduled flights, facilitating the transportation of nearly 3,000 participants from across the globe to Orlando, Florida. There, these families were treated to an all-expenses-paid experience at the magical Walt Disney World Resort.

Snowball Express: A Two-Week Celebration


For the first time in its history, the Snowball Express event unfolded over two weeks, allowing more families to partake in the memorable experience.

The extension of the event to include families of fallen first responders broadened its impact, offering solace and support to those who have endured the ultimate sacrifice.

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American Airlines’ Charitable Gesture


American Airlines played a pivotal role in making this heartfelt gathering possible by contributing charter aircraft and tickets for almost 3,000 participants.

The airline’s commitment to supporting the Snowball Express underscores its dedication to community engagement and honoring the memory of fallen heroes.

Walt Disney World


The participants, flown in from various corners of the world, converged in Orlando, Florida, where the enchanting Walt Disney World Resort awaited.

American Airlines, in collaboration with the Gary Sinise Foundation, ensured that these families experienced the magic of Disney in an all-expenses-paid retreat, providing moments of joy and respite.

Team Members’ Dedication


Over a thousand American Airlines team members selflessly dedicated their time to make Snowball Express a meaningful and seamless experience for the families of fallen heroes.

Since 2006, these compassionate individuals have volunteered to serve the families either in the air or by coordinating heartfelt gate-side sendoff ceremonies at airports across the airline’s extensive network.

Full Circle: A Personal Connection


The commitment to Snowball Express came full circle for Dani Fernandez, an IT professional at American Airlines.

Having participated in Snowball Express as a child 11 years ago, Fernandez now actively contributes to the event, embodying the airline’s enduring commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of these families.

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American Airlines annual Snowball Express event - a poignant tribute to those who lost loved ones while serving in the nation's military.
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