Contrary to claims seen on social media sites, “African migrants” are not flying to the U.S. for free courtesy of American, Delta, or United Airlines or of the American taxpayers. The unsubstantiated rumors appear to stem from an article that misrepresents the activities provided by a miles donation charity. The airlines told Reuters these claims were not true.
Instagram and Facebook users have shared the image captioned “Wow, but not provide free flights to our military veterants?” that is visible here and here . “Delta, American, & United Airlines, are providing African migrants free flights to the U.S.” reads the image.
Comments on the posts alleged that migrants are flown in to “vote democrat,” with a user commenting, “Democrats shipping in votes.” Other users were concerned the flights are paid for with taxpayer money or government funds, responding, “You know I think this is all a big lie. The government is paying these air lines. Air lines like the money. And the left is paying for this. With our tax dollars.”
An article posted on the Gateway Pundit (archive.is/OJDJa)seems to be the catalyst for these claims, then recycled by other websites (archived examples visible archive.is/dMfTb and archive.ph/UkwwQ ).
The first paragraph reads, “As hundreds of illegal immigrants surge across the southern border daily, migrants from Africa are gaining entry into the United States with free plane tickets paid for by American taxpayers.”
However, the article later says the flights are made possible by Miles4Migrants. Miles4Migrants, according to its website (miles4migrants.org/about-us/) is a 501(c)(3) charity that uses “donated frequent flyer miles to help people impacted by war, persecution, or disaster.”
The travel stems from donated frequent flyer miles and cash donations in addition to funding (here) from the Shapiro Foundation and The TripAdvisor Foundation.
Curtis Blessing, a spokesperson for American Airlines, confirmed, “American has no such relationship with Miles4Migrants.” In fact, the Gateway Pundit removed mention of American Airlines from their original piece after the company reached out to the publisher (seen in this July 31, 2021, archived snapshot, visible archive.is/X4oK5 ).
A Delta spokesperson told Reuters via email, “While these claims are unfounded, Delta does offer customers a way to support charities by donating miles through the SkyWish (here) program.”
SkyWish provides “travel to ill or wounded service members, children with life-threatening medical conditions and volunteers assisting with disaster relief and recovery,” they said.
A spokesperson for United Airlines told Reuters via phone that the company does have a partnership with Miles4Migrants through its Miles on a Mission (donate.mileageplus.com/) program. United’s Miles on a Mission campaign “allows United MileagePlus members to give as few as 1,000 miles” to the charity.
Miles4Migrants told Reuters via email it does not use taxpayers’ money to pay for the flights.
False. American Airlines, Delta and United are not paying for African migrants to receive free flights to the United States. A charity named Miles4Migrants allows flight donations for migrants in need.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .