We all know that traveling isn’t easy. Especially traveling with children. Road trips are one thing, but when you have to pack your gear up and head to the airport, that’s a whole other ball of wax. Fortunately for those of us in the military, we have a little something at the airport to help make our trip a bit better. Especially if your flight gets delayed. I’m talking about the USO.
What is the USO?
If you’re not familiar with it, the USO is a wonderful organization that supports the military in a multitude of different ways. They offer a variety of programs for service members and their families, sponsor different events to benefit military families, and put on shows for deployed troops with celebrity guests and bands. One of the other major roles they play is by providing a space in the airport for military members and their families to relax while waiting for take off. All you need to enter is your military I.D.
Recently I took a trip to Chicago from Charlotte, NC, and encountered a few issues. I arrived at the airport at 8 a.m. ready for my early morning flight, only to discover it had been canceled. WHAT? Ugh…nightmare. Of course, the only other flight I could get on wasn’t until 5 p.m. later that night. So what was I supposed to do at the airport all day? I headed straight for the USO, of course! Well, after I stopped at Starbucks.
What Does the USO Provide?
The USO pretty much has anything you could want. They always have plenty of food and drinks. Items range from sandwiches to granola bars to candy. There is juice, coffee, water, etc. So many options! And it’s all FREE!
The USO also provides very comfortable seating. You guys, these lounge chairs are soooooo comfy!! And they are right in front of a large television for your viewing pleasure. There also are tables and chairs where you can sit and eat and relax.
On top of that, the USO provides computers with internet access as well as free WiFi. This worked out very well for me since I was traveling on a Friday and needed to work while at the airport.
Now, here comes the best part for all of us mommas trudging through the airport with children. The USO will often have a wonderful family area. There are toys, games, a small table and chairs, a pack n play for your sleepy little ones, a rocking chair, and even a high chair. I was flying solo this time around but saw a few families come and go and make the most out of this area. It’s a great way to occupy your children while waiting for your flight!
Not every airport USO is exactly the same, but they are very similar. I have been in a few different ones and felt very comfortable and enjoyed it each time. One thing you will most definitely find at any airport USO you visit is a friendly staff. Every USO I’ve gone to has had the most wonderful and helpful staff on hand. The staff in Charlotte were actually the ones who helped me find a new flight to get on after mine was canceled, and I couldn’t find a gate agent. The staff goes out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable while you are there.
So the next time you’re traveling by air, be sure to stop at the USO to see what they have to offer. You won’t regret it! Just be sure to have your military I.D. ready!