Business Culver City Edition Local News

Airport recognizes role played by volunteers

LOS ANGELES — Volunteerism plays a huge role in providing passengers with an enhanced guest experience at Los Angeles International Airport. In honor of National Volunteer Recognition Week, Los Angeles World Airports recognized the airport volunteer programs and volunteers that provide exceptional service to airport guests.

LAX’s community volunteers helped contribute more than 40,000 hours of service at LAX and guest-related events in 2018. Currently, LAX volunteers include 205 volunteer information professionals, 110 pets unstressing passengers program dogs and their human volunteers and 16 volunteers from community high schools in the LAXceeders Program. 

“We are grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who are dedicated to our mission of providing gold-star service at LAX,” said Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director for operations and emergency management at the airport. “Each day, our volunteers provide guests with information to help them navigate the airport, our dogs greet travelers with warm hugs and help them relax, and our LAXceeders point guests in the right direction and answer travel questions during weekends.”

The volunteer information professionals program’s goal is to provide guests with a friendly and positive experience at LAX. Volunteers wear red vests and are located in information booths on the Arrivals Level of each LAX terminal. 

The pets unstressing passengers program, which is one of the largest airport therapy dog programs in the nation, will celebrate its sixth anniversary April 15. Since traveling can be stressful for passengers, volunteers provide an overall enhanced customer experience, providing stress relief and comfort.

The LAXceeders program was launched in partnership with Westchester Enriched Students Magnet High School, bringing four motivated student volunteers to the airport in its inaugural class and growing to 16 students from a number of communities and high schools by the end of 2018. The program celebrated its one-year anniversary April 7.

In celebration of National Volunteer Recognition Week, LAX is also proud to highlight a few volunteers who go above and beyond to assist our guests. 

Natalie and Luis Mendoza have volunteered as volunteer information professionals in Terminal 7 for the last seven years. Married for 65 years, Luis and Natalie have aviation backgrounds. Luis, 85, worked for Continental Airlines in accounting, and Natalie, 82, worked for World Airways and Flying Tigers before retiring from Hertz. 

“We enjoy volunteering together, especially helping the passengers and meeting all of the nice people,” Natalie Mendoza said.

Meeting new people is also a fun part of the job according to Vian De La Torre, a junior at Oxford Academy in Cypress. As a member of the LAXceeders Program, DeLa Torre enjoys providing guests with personal assistance and information in a professional manner. Her upbeat personality and willingness to provide exceptional service are what make her stand out. 

“When guests get off their flights, our volunteer team members are some of the first faces that they may see and it is our role to make sure they receive a wonderful welcome to Los Angeles,” De La Torre said. “Traveling to a new place can be stressful, so it’s an honor to be able to help, whether it be pointing them in the right direction, providing much-needed information or just greeting them with a smile and a hello.”

All of the programs are currently recruiting new volunteers. 

Wave Staff Report