When airlines endeavor to showcase their friendliness to the LGBT community, they tend to take a multipronged approach. From consumer marketing to sponsored partnerships to employee policies, carriers aiming to take off with gay passengers have a variety of angles to exploit. On the marketing side, United Airlines uses email blasts through the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. Delta Air Lines offers LGBT vacation packages through its Delta Vacations brand, featuring hotels that meet criteria as gay-friendly properties. American Airlines maintains a gay and lesbian travel section on its site as well, with information about LGBT events, news and special offers. Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, includes LGBT travel recommendations on its blog. Across the Pacific, Air New Zealand has been among the most successful at attracting attention with its LGBT-focused marketing efforts. In 2008 the company launched what it called the first North American “Pink Flight” — a specially themed service from San Francisco in celebration of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. And the carrier staged a same-sex wedding at 30,000 feet after New Zealand legalized such unions in 2013. Several airlines partner with LGBT organizations to sponsor special events and support causes. Southwest Airlines, for example, is the official carrier of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The carrier also includes working with LGBT-owned suppliers among the goals of its supplier diversity initiative. United Airlines maintains a presence in pride parades in five of its hub cities, serves as the official airline of Equality Illinois and is a Gold Level Partner with IGLTA. And in 2015 the airline became the only top-tier Diamond Level partner of the National Gay Pilots Association, a nonprofit organization of LGBT pilots and aviation enthusiasts, many of whom work in commercial aviation. The way an airline treats its LGBT employees, in fact, provides another way the industry gauges which airlines are most respectful of the community. Most major airlines in the United States, for example, include LGBT employee groups; American Airlines has one of the newest since its merger with US Airways resulted in a combined group called Pride, which boasts about 620 members. And JetBlue touts its perfect score of 100 on the 2016 Corporate Equality Index, a rating from the Human Rights Campaign based on surveys and reports on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality.
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Women in Travel
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