If your holiday travels bring you through the Atlanta airport, be sure to visit the Delta Military Lounge, open through January 3rd.
I recently traveled to St. Louis, with a two-and-a-half hour layover scheduled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. My layover options were black and white: either I risked a 59 minute layover, or opted to spend hours in the terminal to catch my connection. I erred on the side of caution, and grabbed the shortest layover I could, without having the very real possibility of running through the airport in a frantic attempt to make my connection. I am so glad we ended up with a layover.
When I say “we”, I’m referring to myself and my 70-year old father, who was traveling with me that weekend. We were headed to St. Louis for a book launch, in which my essay, “Living In-Between”, cataloging both my childhood as a military brat and my father’s 23-year career in the Air Force, had been published. I’d received an honorable mention in the Interview category, and wanted my father to be there when I read from the piece I’d written in honor of him. (If you’re interested, the book is entitled, Proud To Be: Writing by American Warriors and is published by Southeast Missouri State University Press, in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council)
As we made our way down concourse B in Atlanta, our terminal the very last on the concourse, I could see the dimly lit walkway, devoid of ceiling tiles and with makeshift [inadequate] fluorescent lighting. I groaned inwardly, the thought of spending 2 ½ hours in that dank area depressing me. And then, a doorway to our left caught my eye, emitting a warm light from within — a banner outside advertised the Delta Military Lounge. I nudged my dad to call it to his attention, and we made a beeline over.
As soon as we entered the DML, we were warmly greeted by no fewer than four people, beckoning is in and asking if they could offer us any food or beverages. I dropped my bags and took it all in — a beautiful Christmas tree, decorated with ornaments made from service patches donated by servicemen. Displays of medals, and signs everywhere, individually welcoming families from each military branch.
We grabbed coffees, and took one of the many available seats, silently looking out over the tarmac, where snow was just beginning to fall. For those couple of hours, we were able to sit in a brightly lighted room, with a bird’s eye view of the flight line, away from the chaotic scramble of the airport terminal during the holiday season.
Curious, I researched the Delta Military Lounge, surprised to discover that it is now in its 48th year, and staffed by wonderful volunteers, who simply wish to provide a comfortable respite for military families — active and retired — traveling home over the holidays. Unlike many USO lounges, located at airports across the country, the Delta Military Lounge is located inside security checkpoints, so there’s no need to leave and return to the long security lines.
So this year, if you find yourself with some time to kill in the Atlanta airport, make your way over to the Delta Military Lounge, located on concourse B across from gate B33, grab a bite to eat, and let the kids play with toys, watch movies or play video games while you relax away from holiday stress.
Have you ever spent time in the Delta Military Lounge? How about the USO Center? Tell us about your experience!
Posted by Lauren B. Stevens, NMFA Volunteer. In addition to being a proud Air Force BRAT, Lauren B. Stevens is a freelance writer and editor, having flipped the script after spending many years in the publishing industry. When she’s not creating engaging content for businesses, Lauren dabbles in creative nonfiction, and many of her pieces are available both online and in print. Lauren lives outside of Baltimore with her husband and son, surrounded by books of every size, shape and subject.