In celebration of its 20th year, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has expanded and rebranded its volunteer program, which has welcomed millions of passengers over the years. The PHL Volunteer Navigators Program is now managed by Christine Datesman of Travelers Aid, and is part of the airport’s Guest Experience Department. To learn more about the program, PHL spoke with the volunteer team's newest members, program coordinators Ebonee Allen and Morgan McBrearty, to discuss their roles and what makes PHL’s Volunteer Navigators Program a model for other airports.
Allen and McBrearty work with Datesman to recruit new volunteers for the program, looking for individuals who have a passion for making a difference, and are excited about the opportunity to give passengers a warm welcome when they arrive in Philadelphia. The full-time team ensures that volunteers are fully equipped with useful advice for travelers through utilizing a mobile knowledge base built specifically for PHL. The knowledge base, which is updated in real-time, offers volunteers access to any answers travelers may need in an instant, ensuring their experience at PHL is as seamless and stress-free as possible.
“As a frequent traveler, I understand the stress that can come with a trip to the airport, and I love that PHL’s volunteers are able to assist our guests and make their experience a positive one.” said Allen. “As a Philadelphia native, there’s nothing better than welcoming visitors to this incredible city.”
Both Allen and McBrearty have a long history of volunteering with different organizations, and agree that PHL’s Volunteer Navigator’s Program is a stand out due to the fact that the airport’s volunteers share a genuine enthusiasm for the services they offer - making the program a perfect opportunity for individuals looking for an enjoyable and impactful volunteer experience.
To anyone on the fence about volunteering, McBrearty said, “You will not regret volunteering at PHL. Not only do you get to become an airport insider (with some great perks!) but you get to form long-lasting relationships with people at the airport in a volunteer environment that is very exciting and rewarding.”
Volunteering with PHL is a great opportunity for college students, retirees, those with flexible schedules, or simply anyone who loves travel or aviation. In addition, the program is aiming to recruit volunteers who are fluent in many languages and in American Sign Language and build a database of qualified interpreters and translators, as well as training for staff and volunteers on how to utilize language assistance services when helping passengers.
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, four-hour shift each week (8 a.m.- Noon, Noon-4 p.m., or 4 p.m.-8 p.m.)
- One year commitment
- Friendly and willing to assist passengers
- Ability to work in a dynamic environment and learn new skills
- Multilingual is a plus
- Must be 16 years of age