The historical origins of the ancient Olympic Games are unknown and several myths, legends and truths have survived. However, the original Olympic Games began in 776 B.C and celebrated the Greek heroes such as Zeus and Hercules.
Today, an innovative airline created the ‘Airports Games’ for a different type of hero … the ground handling and customer service hero. A bi-annual event, the first of which was held in 2005, the WestJet Airports Games began as a below-the-wing event, but has quickly gained momentum and now includes above-the-wing and customer service agent events.
“It was first brought up as an awards and recognition event where the idea was to bring our contracted handlers together to experience the WestJet operations and culture, share a sense of community by meeting one another and then go back to their respective cities to spread the word,” Peter Feldstein, WestJet coordinator, standards and procedures explains.
Ground handling crew and customer service agents compete in an array of airport related events, including the luggage toss, chock wagon race, baggage tractor pull, chock put and several other competitions which comprise the Airports Games.
Another aspect of this very special “Olympics” is the involvement of WestJet Cares for Kids investment program and Hope Air, a 20-year-old charity founded with the vision to ensure that no Canadian is denied medical care for inabililty to afford air travel. During the awards banquet at this year’s games, Marc Garneau, Canada’s first astronaut and Hope Air’s honorary patron, spoke about gifts of flight given to Hope Air over the 11-year partnership with WestJet.
The next few pages tell the story of the WestJet Games and exemplify community spirit.