Travelers Aid stations help out weary passengers

Most of my trips through airports go smoothly, but, without fail, I’ll always spot a fellow traveler who is upset for one reason or another. Canceled flights, lost luggage, missed connections, weather delays– these are unfortunately, though inevitably, what all of us must deal with at one time or another. When it’s not me, rather than feeling sympathy for the unlucky victim, I find myself thinking, “Thank God that’s not me.”

Some people are more altruistic than your humble correspondent. Most people. (All people?) This Christmas, hundreds of volunteers will work in airports across the country to make some of our flight-related problems a little more bearable. The volunteers are members of Travelers Aid International, a non-profit, social service institution that has been around since 1851 (when there were significantly fewer problems in airports).

They will be operating booths in 24 airports around the country, performing a wide range of services for distraught passengers. Quoted in a New York Times article, one volunteer said, “It can be as mundane as, ‘Where is the restroom’ or ‘Where can I go smoke a cigarette?’ … But it can also be, ‘My mom was supposed to be on the plane from Peru and I can’t find out whether she was on it.’ And the airlines won’t tell people. But if I go to the airline counter, they may tell me because I have on the Travelers Aid badge.”

She added, “I love people. I have a ball out there.”

Full story here.