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Detroit Metro Airport and Delta Employees Make Big Impact this Holiday Season

20/01/2011 09:10

DETROIT, (PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Holiday cheer filled Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and spilled-out into the Metro Detroit community this holiday season, thanks to the hard work and initiative of local Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) and Delta Air Lines employees.

From Dec. 20-23, more than 220 travelers and employees in the McNamara Terminal took the stage for the second-annual Sing Because You Care holiday karaoke event, which raised $3,100 for the Wayne-Westland Corps of the Salvation Army. Performers were asked to contribute at least $5 per song; some gave much more, while hundreds more contributed while just watching the free entertainment.  The event's total surpassed the $2,602 raised in 2009.

For three weeks between Dec. 17-Jan. 7, more than 2,400 members of the military and their family members were welcomed to Delta's DTW Holiday Military Lounge.  Located inside the McNamara Terminal, the lounge—which was staffed and organized entirely by volunteers and off-duty employees—provided a quiet, comfortable space for weary soldiers and sailors to relax and enjoy the time before, after or between flights.

"We're proud to have a true sense of community among the thousands of professionals who come to work each day at Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run Airports," said WCAA Interim CEO Genelle Allen .  "It is an honor for the Airport Authority to support the hard work and initiative shown by airport employees to make a difference throughout the community we serve."

"As Metro Detroit's hometown airline, Delta strongly supports the efforts of our local employees to be an active part of the community that continues to support us throughout the year," said Andy Zarras, Delta Vice President Airport Customer Service for Detroit .  "We have an exceptional group of professionals at Delta's Detroit hub, and we couldn't be happier to be part of the Metro Detroit community."

This season's Sing Because You Care karaoke event was again hosted by world-famous karaoke D.J. and Delta flight attendant Nico Fuentes , with special appearances by former "American Idol" contestant Cody Sheldon .  Support for the event was also provided by the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The DTW Holiday Military Lounge, also in its second year of operation, was significantly expanded this year.  Located in a former airline club just past TSA passenger screening in the McNamara Terminal, the club provided a sizeable sitting area for service members and their families to relax, snack, read, watch television, or just gaze down onto the busy airport concourse below.  The lounge also featured a separate "quiet room", where donated lounge chairs and dim lighting provided a respite for soldiers and sailors who wished to catch some sleep between flights.  Although the lounge was officially open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, some volunteers took it upon themselves to stay later—even overnight--to accommodate service members whose schedules changed due to weather and other travel delays.

"It certainly took a series of 'minor miracles' for all of the pieces to come together so that the lounge could be such a success," said Detroit-based Delta Captain Kenneth Pratt , who was one of several Delta employees leading the lounge initiative.  "But, we've found that once people throughout the airport and the region learn of our effort, their only response is, 'How can I help?'" 

Holiday karaoke and military hospitality were just two of several initiatives by airport and airline employees to spread holiday cheer throughout the airport and the Metro Detroit community.  Earlier in December, airport community members joined the Detroit chapter of Silverliners–an organization of former Eastern Airlines flight attendants–to send 132 young cancer patients and accompanying family members off onboard its annual Fantasy Flight to the North Pole.  Participants were entertained with clowns, magicians and other festive airport employees at their departure gate.  Following an hour-long "flight", these special passengers received a personal welcome from Santa and his elves upon arrival at the North Pole.  More than $655 in contributions from the airport community helped to support this year's event.

Additionally, a new initiative this season by WCAA staff provided employees at both DTW and Willow Run Airport with an opportunity to make a difference in the fight against hunger in the Metro Detroit area.  Nearly 600 lbs. of non-perishable food items were collected and delivered to Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan , one of the oldest food banks in the U.S., for distribution to families in need.

About Wayne County Airport Authority

Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) was established by the Michigan State Legislature in 2002 as an independent entity responsible for the safe and efficient operation of Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and Willow Run Airport (YIP) in Southeast Michigan.  Having served more than 31 million passengers in 2009, DTW is Michigan's busiest airport and among the world's leading commercial air transportation hubs with more than 1,200 non-stop flights each day to and from more than 160 destinations on four continents.  DTW is served by fifteen scheduled air carriers and is Delta's second-largest hub and primary transpacific gateway.  Nearby YIP, once home of the world's busiest bomber plant, today serves as an important general aviation, business and cargo reliever airport for the state and is Michigan's third-busiest airport.  Together, DTW and YIP airports comprise one of the most efficient, operationally-capable air transportation systems in North America.  According to studies conducted by the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the airports have an estimated annual economic impact of more than $7.8 billion on the Michigan economy and are responsible for as many as 73,000 Michigan jobs.  For more details, visit

About Delta

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 357 destinations in 67 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 75,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Delta participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 13,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. The airline's service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier program, the world's largest airline loyalty program; the award-winning BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Delta is investing more than $2 billion through 2013 in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and review flight status at

SOURCE Wayne County Airport Authority

CONTACT: WCAA Public Affairs, +1-734-955-3745p; or Delta Corp. Comm., +1-404-715-2554

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