The nation's major carriers have begun flights meant to airlift more than 25,000 people stranded in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.
The evacuees will be taken to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and other sites picked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The airlines include Alaska, America West, American, ATA, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, Northwest, Southwest, United, US Airways, and Air Canada.
Several cargo carriers are also taking part.
The airlift was organized by the Air Transport Association.
The mission will be styled after a program in which the military uses commercial airliners to transport troops.
The airlines want the government to pay the cost of the mercy operation.
The New Orleans airport is functioning only on a limited basis, so the flights will be limited to daylight hours.