PHL’s Guest Experience Department (GX) leads the (PHL) Volunteer Navigator Program with over 80 volunteers. Some volunteers are retirees, highschoolers and several are flight attendants who love the aviation industry and volunteer when they “touch-down” at PHL. They provide passengers with all the information they need to navigate PHL’s airport.
Allie Alton (pictured above with Copper, one of PHL’s Wagging Tails Brigade) has been an American Airlines flight attendant for about 10 years. She’s currently based at PHL and has been living in Philadelphia for almost two years.
“When I moved to Philadelphia, I had been looking for volunteer opportunities but wanted a role that would be a good fit for my strengths; somewhere I felt I could really use my knowledge and skills to make an impact,” said Alton. “Volunteering with the PHL Volunteer Navigators seemed like the perfect fit. Volunteering can be even more meaningful when you give back to your own community- and travelers are my community.”
Volunteering at the information counters allows Alton to help passengers between flights, and those who are just starting or ending their journey. She understands how important assistance is during those critical parts of travel. “It’s so rewarding to know that I’m helping their trip go more smoothly and am able to answer their questions with a smile,” said Alton.
Alton’s most memorable moment of volunteering at PHL was when she assisted a passenger mail his daughter’s birthday card. She directed him to a nearby shop where he could buy a card. However, he was worried that the card would not arrive on her birthday. Alton was determined to ensure that his daughter received the card on time. “I told him that if he addressed it, I would put a stamp on it and drop it in the mailbox for him,” she said. “I was so touched at how much he wanted his daughter to know he missed her and was thinking of her, and I was honored to be a small part in helping facilitate this!”
Alton believes volunteering is a wonderful opportunity. “Christine Datesman PHL’s Volunteer Navigator’s Program Manager and Morgan McBreaty PHL’s Volunteer Coordinator, work hard to make sure we have the resources we need to answer just about any question. There is great support and teamwork,” said Alton.
Although the aviation industry is global it can at times feel like a small town for Alton. She loves the common bond she shares with people who work in the aviation industry, no matter what their role. “We all share a common goal of providing a safe and happy journey to millions of visitors,” said Alton. “And for me, that starts at an information counter helping one lost person at a time.”
Meet Tampa Resident Volunteers
Susan and Alex Ring live in Tampa, FL, and volunteer at Tampa International Airport and PHL. They come to Philadelphia every month to visit Alex’s 96-year-old mother. Susan recently retired as a flight attendant after 30 years in the industry working for Republic Airways, which services United and Delta Airlines. She’s held different positions in the gate, training, ticketing, reservations, and ramp departments. “Aviation is just in us,” said Susan. “We can never see ourselves without some form of it. We enjoy helping people and sharing our experiences with travelers.”
Volunteering is such a fulfilling experience for them that they often encourage others to volunteer at PHL as well.
They enjoy how the aviation industry allows them to get up in the air and soar across the sky to a new adventure. They believe this poem by Hans Christian Andersen best describes their love for aviation:
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
Interested in becoming a volunteer at PHL? Click here for more information.