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This Is Your Pilot Squeaking.

Photo credit: Delta airlines. This young pilot is preparing for takeoff.

Children can get bored at airports waiting to board planes, but an initiative by Delta Air Lines is aiming to solve this by enlisting younger passengers to do help with some airline jobs in San Juan.

Flying with young children can sometimes be hard work for parents, with the long waits resulting in boredom for the active and curious minds of junior travelers.

Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico is a major destination for Delta Air Lines and receives flights from several Delta hubs, including the likes of Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), and New York JFK.

As such, the US legacy carrier has an established presence in San Juan and knows its clientele well.

For instance, it is knows that it has many younger passengers who might get bored hanging around at gate B11 before their flight. With this in mind, the airline has begun offering children the chance to join its turnaround team for a few hours.

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.

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.

If there is time, the helpers are also rewarded for their assistance with a visit to the cockpit to meet the Captain.

While this is obviously an incredibly stimulating and exciting experience for Delta’s young passengers (and those traveling on other airlines who are also welcome to get involved), it also brings a smile to the faces of San Juan’s regular airport workers. SJU Ramp Agent Solmarie Martinez states:

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

The initiative was the brainchild of Alexis Garcia, who serves as Delta Air Lines’ Station Manager in San Juan. It came about rather spontaneously upon witnessing a young passenger waving to a pilot through a large window while traveling in Jamaica.

The setting was reportedly similar to gate B11 in San Juan, and it sparked the inspiration for an initiative that Delta is rightly proud of today.

Source: Delta Air Lines.