PHL celebrates the Guest Experience (GX) unit’s PHL Volunteer Navigators program on International Volunteer Day by recognizing current volunteers. Over 80 volunteers answer all passenger questions, from what food options are available to what form of transportation to utilize. Travelers Aid International Program Manager Morgan McBrearty and program coordinators Benjamin Toledano and Owen Pazderak manage the PHL Volunteer Navigators program.
“Our dedicated volunteers provide an authentic passenger experience, helping others with their knowledge of PHL and our city,” said the Travelers Aid International management team. “Without our incredible volunteers we would not be successful in our mission."
Linda Still, a recent retiree after working more than 30 years in the hospitality industry, believes that volunteering is a form of giving back. “First impressions are so important, and helping others while highlighting the wonderful cities connected to PHL is a joy and treat,” she said. “I always tell people about volunteering and how great it is.”
Still has been volunteering for about two years and is always proud of assisting passengers in finding a lost item. She once helped an older woman navigate the airport when a flight delay confused the passenger. Still connected the passenger with her daughter and brother and escorted her to her gate. “I could easily put myself in her shoes one day, and only pray that this kindness would be extended to me if needed,” said Still.
Similarly, volunteer Dave Lindberg enjoys assisting passengers and recalls assisting a French family reach their connecting flight with his minimal French language skills. “It’s rewarding to assist others,” said Lindberg. “Being able to make travel easier for others is why I volunteer at PHL. I always appreciate knowing that whatever airport I am in throughout the world, there is someone who can help.”
Lindberg loves the diversity and pace that the Travelers Aid volunteer position offers. He’s always considered himself a road warrior, traveling weekly for business for decades. “I’ve always felt comfortable at the airport,” said Lindberg. “When I retired and had time to devote to volunteering, it was natural that I would head back to a place I knew well.”
Volunteer Toby McIntosh prioritizes human interaction and connection with passengers. He once observed passengers walking past the QR codes at the information counters without stopping before starting his shift. “As soon as I sat down, a stream of passengers stopped by to ask a range of pretty straightforward questions,” said McIntosh. “I enjoy being a person to interact with, helping people find information they might not otherwise seek.”
The hustle and bustle of the airport creates a dynamic environment for passengers, volunteers, and employees. Volunteer Laverne Vaughn, who also volunteers at a nursing home, believes that volunteering can be great for high school and college students. “Volunteering is a great experience for young people to get a feel for the industry and motivate them,” said Vaughn. “They’re able to see what the airport is about. There are so many different positions at the airport. People don’t always think about the behind-the-scenes jobs. It would be great for young people to explore diverse career options.”
PHL Volunteer Perks
· Make new friends
· Be part of a dedicated airport team
· Become an airport insider and experience the airport behind-the-scenes
· Enjoy discounts at airport food and shops
· Purchase discounted SEPTA passes
· Receive free garage parking during volunteer shifts and while traveling
· Attend volunteer social activities, tours, and field trips
· Volunteer uniform and training provided by PHL
PHL Volunteer Program Requirements
· Minimum of one, 4-hour shift each week (8am-12noon, 12noon-4pm, or 4pm-8pm)
· One year commitment
· Friendly and willing to assist passengers
· Ability to work in a dynamic environment and learn new skills
· Multilingual is a plus
Are you interested in volunteering? Fill out this interest form.