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How Delta people in San Juan are connecting young customers to their potential in aviation

Customers passing through San Juan airport may notice some young Delta helpers as they wait to board their next flight as part of a special initiative to inspire excitement about aviation.

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The next time you’re embarking on a voyage out of San Juan Airport at gate B11, you may notice some unusually youthful Delta helpers in orange vests. 

That’s because here, (grown-up) Delta people have turned an otherwise mundane routine at this gate into a stimulating environment for young minds to run wild and live out their dreams, steps away from a wide window overlooking the runway. Here, children waiting for their flight can be selected to be part of the Delta team for a few hours to help with tasks like marshaling in planes or making boarding zone announcements.  

A Delta employee works with a child at San Juan Airport as part of a special initiative to inspire excitement about aviation.

Once selected, the young trainees don an “official” vest while a Delta employee announces the newest employee to the terminal– followed by a round of applause from their fellow agents and customers. The ramp agents build in time to come up to the gatehouse to greet the young passenger and brief them on the tasks at hand. If time allows, a meeting with the captain is arranged in the flight deck.

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“When you get to work with these kids, they change your day,” said SJU Red Coat Ramon Gonzalez-Colon. “This really makes an impact and creates an unforgettable experience for the kids.”  

A child sits in the flight deck on an aircraft at San Juan Airport as part of a special initiative to inspire excitement about aviation.

And despite a busy summer operation, this initiative has remained constant – every day, rain or shine – and always brings a smile to those involved. 

A young passenger in Jamaica waving to a pilot through a large airport window sparked the idea for SJU Station Manager Alexis Garcia while he was traveling.  

“The window reminded me of the one at gate B11, and I shared the idea with some team members,” he said. “I empowered them to think outside the box, and they have gone above and beyond to make this part of the culture at SJU.”  

Garcia said all kids are excited for the opportunity, but young girls are especially happy when interacting with the lone woman on the SJU ramp – Solmarie Martinez. 

A Delta employee talks to a child at San Juan Airport as part of a special initiative to inspire excitement about aviation.

“It’s special to see young ladies interacting with someone that looks like them in the below-wing operation,” Garcia said.   

Martinez said she always jumps at the chance to engage with young passengers, especially young girls.  

“Their faces light up when I encourage them that they are more than capable of doing the job I do one day,” Martinez said. “They ask questions and always want to learn more. It’s so inspiring and makes me proud to be part of this team.”  

These special moments resonate not just with one customer or family, but across the entire terminal.  

“Sometimes we have parents who are flying on other airlines come up to us and ask if their kids can participate,” Alexis said. “And of course, we are happy to do it to show them the Delta Difference.” 

Customers passing through San Juan airport may notice some young Delta helpers as they wait to board their next flight as part of a special initiative to inspire excitement about aviation.
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