Traveling Service Members, Families Find Refuge at USO Georgia Airport Center After Massive Flight Delays Due to Storms

In times of extreme weather or family emergencies, USO airport center volunteers and staff often go above and beyond to help service members and their families who visit their center.

USO Georgia staff and volunteers at the USO center in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport did just that this week, supporting over 300 service members and their families who were left stranded at the airport due to flight delays and cancelations as a result of inclement weather hitting the southeastern, U.S. Aug. 8, 2023.

For the Estrada family, the USO came to their rescue when they needed a safe place to relax with their three children as they waited 14 hours for their next flight.

“Our family has been here since 7:00 a.m., this morning and our flight was delayed until 9:00 p.m. tonight,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Antonio Estrada. “The USO has been very accommodating, friendly, and great with our kids.”

While some traveling families were able to get a flight out that same day, some service members had to hunker down for the night. The USO volunteers and staff on duty that day were more than happy to help soldiers and families find a hotel, book a rental car, while provided them lunch, snacks and cold refreshments.

“I have been stranded since 11 a.m. My flight was cancelled and rescheduled for tomorrow … hopefully,” said Army Pfc. Salam Al Omrani. “The USO has helped me find a place to stay and met my needs, the staff and volunteers have been very welcoming.”

USO airport lounges are made to provide comfort to the military community on their journeys, no matter where they’re going. At these lounges, which can be located before or after TSA security checkpoints, service members can find everything from free snacks and coffee to a comfy chair to take a quick nap. Most locations, which are typically staffed by friendly and helpful volunteers, feature televisions, video game systems and free Wi-Fi so visitors can use their own devices to check in with loved ones back home.

The strain of traveling can take its toll on anyone, but especially on our service members and their families. In addition to the daily stresses and duties of life in the military, many service members may be traveling far from home, or on their way to their next duty station or deployment. Military spouses may be traveling alone with their children while their spouse is out to sea. Some service members might just have had a flight delay and are now stranded with nowhere to go.

That’s where the USO comes in. No matter where they are coming from or where they are going, the USO is there to provide support to our nation’s service members and military community.

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