Leonard Wright stepped off his flight from Washington, D.C., early Tuesday and noticed a sign he had never seen on his frequent visits to Atlanta—pointing to the Delta Military Lounge just around the corner. Once there, Wright was greeted by three volunteers as he entered a haven filled with holiday cheer and homemade treats galore.
A 35-year U.S. Military Logistics Management Specialist and Platinum Medallion flyer, Wright was in awe of the way Delta employees had created a place for military personnel and their family members – many of whom face long layovers – to recharge before their next flight.
"A huge thank you to the Delta people. This is hugely appreciated because I have a four-hour layover and I didn't really want to just sit at my gate, but now I am able to log in and be comfortable," Wright said. "I can't wait to pass the word along to my co-workers."
An oasis from the holiday hustle of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – the world's busiest airport and Delta's largest hub – the Delta Military Lounge, in its 49th year, provides food, drinks and a relaxation space for visitors to enjoy.
Hundreds of volunteers lend their time and talent to style homemade recipes and bring in fresh baked goods, fruits, vegetables and beverages for visitors, who can watch movies, play games and create holiday crafts to the soothing sounds of Michael Bublé, among others.
"We want to show our service men and women that we support them," said volunteer Vicki Jennings, OCC Charter Desk Manager. "It's giving back to those who protect our freedom. So many people are getting deployed or traveling home for the holidays and the Military Lounge brings a little bit of happiness into their travel days."
In the heart of the lounge stands a tree decorated with military badges and coins gifted from visitors throughout the year. With over 10,000 veteran employees in the company, Delta people are happy to volunteer to staff this holiday retreat.
Ramp agent and volunteer Jesse Bolling said more than 17,000 people visited last year, a record. The lounge moved to a larger space this year.
"To continue improving, we worked hard to expand the lounge and make it a quiet place for them to get out of the airport, especially for those with small children. This year we've set up stations including a quiet area with a fireplace, a kids' area with a Wii, a theatre area, a gaming area with an Xbox, and tables to enjoy the abundance of snacks and drinks available."
The Delta Military Lounge is located beside gate E14 at the Atlanta airport and is open daily from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. through Jan. 4.
"We want to provide a way to say thank you to these incredible service men and women who have dedicated their lives to our country," said Matt Sparks, Vice President – Airport Operations, Atlanta. "The Delta Military Lounge is our favorite tradition to provide that extra caring touch to military personnel and their families as they travel this holiday season."