It’s hot out there, especially if you work on hard surfaces all day like so many airline workers do.
Delta has a novel way of helping employees beat the heat: snow cones.
Delta’s Worldport team in Atlanta came up with the idea of serving free snow cones to Delta people around campus – especially to those folks stationed outside in the sweltering heat – and it’s proving popular.
“It has been such a long, hot summer, and we wanted to do something to show our employees how much we appreciate them braving the heat every day to take care of our customers,” said Greg Kennedy, Senior Vice President –Worldport Operations.
Airport Customer Service leaders serve the sugar-free snow cones two or three times a week, usually about three to four hours a day. Although the project was designed to support Airport Customer Service/Cargo teams in Atlanta, TechOps, Ground Support Equipment, Flight Ops and In-Flight Service have all enjoyed the cool treats.
While it’s snow cones in Atlanta, Delta hands out cold water and frosty snacks everywhere for employees working outside.
At New York’s LaGuardia, two Mr. Softee ice cream trucks dropped in on workers this week. And for the past five years, Delta’s Detroit’s below-wing leadership team has organized an ice cream truck visit, providing an assortment of frozen treats – more than 3,500 this year – to thank Delta people for their dedication during the busy summer schedule.
In Atlanta, snow cone availability is promoted via the internal Delta Vision channel and an opt-in texting program. The parched crowds are growing, especially as days mount when the temperature has climbed above 90. Delta served more than 1,000 snow cones in just the first four days.
Among the nine flavors ‘Tiger Blood’ is the most popular. It’s strawberry, watermelon and coconut.
“I don’t know who came up with this idea, but it’s really, really great,” said Clarence Cassells, a below-wing employee who was enjoying his mango/pineapple cone on a broiling afternoon this week.
So who did come up with the idea?
“I was talking with a colleague, Scott Allen, who’s a graphic designer here,” said Justin Badger, Strategic Communications Manager—Worldport Delta Hub. “We got talking more and more about serving snow cones to employees, and he, the real brainchild behind the project, later came back to me and said, ‘We should do it here.’”
They made a proposal to the leadership team and got the go ahead.
A trailer was soon acquired, and supplies were purchased, including cups, spoons and flavors.
“Anything that makes Delta people happy is a real bonus,” Allen said, while filling a cup with ice for the next ‘customer’ in line.
In Detroit, supervisors say the ice cream doesn’t just cool off employees; it brightens their day.
“For a split second, as employees hear the music and see the ice cream truck, it takes them back to being a kid,” said Below-Wing Director Eric Priccio, who, along with his team leaders, has chauffeured the truck around the entire terminal. “They can’t help but smile as they order a ‘Big Bopper’ or a ‘Chocolate Turtle.’
“Leaders enjoy serving the ice cream to our well-deserved employees,” he added. “There’s nothing better on a hot day after loading a flight than having the ice cream man show up at your gate.”
Here's a photo gallery from Atlanta and Detroit.