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TPG honors 3 airline-industry professionals with 'Making a Difference Award'

Nov. 20, 2020
4 min read
TPG honors 3 airline-industry professionals with 'Making a Difference Award'
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It should come as a surprise to no one that 2020 was a devastating year for the aviation industry. As the coronavirus pandemic completely upended the industry, airlines began to look like a shell of their former selves.

Some airports around the world have taken on the new purpose of parking lots, with dozens of aircraft parked side-by-side. Display screens in airports often remained blank. Some airlines were forced to retire fleets of aircraft early in order to cut costs.

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And, unfortunately, thousands of airline employees were left furloughed, grounded or made redundant — with virtually no airline around the world exempt from having to make those difficult decisions.

At the same time, healthcare workers around the globe were still battling the pandemic, oftentimes without the essentials to keep them going.

Which is where worlds collided. Some of those furloughed airline employees stepped up to provide service to the very healthcare workers battling the pandemic day in and day out.

Related: How the airline industry is coming together to support healthcare workers and how you can help too

Leading that effort was British Airways Captain David Fielding, EasyJet Captain Emma Henderson and Norwegian Air Director of Communications Anders Lindström via a one-of-its-kind venture called Project Wingman.

And today, we're thrilled to honor these individuals with the "Making a Difference Award" for their efforts.

Emma Henderson, David Fielding and Anders Lindström. (Photos courtesy of Project Wingman)

Fielding and Henderson launched Project Wingman first in the U.K., after both having been furloughed during England's first lockdown period. The duo called on other out-of-work airline employees to volunteer their time in newly-created "First Class Lounges" in hospitals around the country.

Much like savvy travelers are used to experiencing themselves, the crew sought to bring that restful and relaxing experience of a first-class lounge to health care workers. The airline employees brought coffee and tea, biscuits to snack on and even flowers to brighten up their day. Most importantly, however, they brought a set of open ears to listen to what the medical professionals were going through — before, during or after their grueling shifts.

"Crew are all trained in human factors and how to communicated with colleagues who are in stressful situations," Project Wingman explains of its mission. "We fellow uniformed professionals understand what it is like to operate in a highly disciplined, regulated and pressured environment."

The project started at the Whittington Hospital in Highgate, North London, for NHS workers caring for patients in COVID-19 wards, before eventually expanding to more than 30 hospitals with more than 4,000 volunteers. The duo's efforts even spurred a congratulatory memo from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Lindström joined the Project Wingman effort by extending its reach to the United States in May 2020. Lindström launched the first two locations in the epicenter of the virus at the time: New York City.

Along with his recruited crew of volunteers, Lindström opened up Project Wingman's famed First Class Lounge at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in Queens, New York. The lounge was originally staffed with crew volunteers from American Airlines, Norwegian Air, Republic and United Airlines. That since expanded to include volunteers from virtually every major U.S. airline.

With its global reach, Project Wingman was able to provide essential health care workers with the comforts airline crew are used to providing passengers.

Instead of on metal tubes, the crew were able to bring their world-class service to the First Class Lounges that began popping up in medical facilities in the U.K. and the U.S.

Without a doubt, 2020 has been a trying year for everyone. As we grew accustomed to working from home, meeting friends from a distance and canceling our much-needed trips, some took to giving back.

Project Wingman helped to improve the days of the very health care workers working day in and day out to save lives in the first peak of the pandemic. By helping offer an outlet for grounded airline crew, Fielding, Henderson and Lindström helped to make a trying time for themselves and their colleagues a more generous one.

The Points Guy is thrilled to honor David Fielding, Emma Henderson and Anders Lindström with this year's "Making a Difference Award".

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases