Long Lines + Delayed Flights: Charlotte Airport chaplains aim to ease stress

Offbeat and Unique

CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The stresses of air travel continue to compound as the pandemic pushes into its seventeenth month.

The FAA says cases of passenger misconduct are up, and the patience of airline workers is running thin.

A program at Charlotte-Douglas, that’s been around for some time, has helped mitigate a lot of potential problems. The Charlotte Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy has been a ministry of presence helping passengers in need with the largest and smallest of requests.

“While at one point we may look misguided or lost, the goal is exactly that. To be a presence.’

Reverend Carl Banks has loved the role he plays with passengers and even airport employees. Sometimes the request is simply which direction to walk for a gate. Other times the ask can be of a more spiritual nature. Banks say they’re ready to act on anything someone needs.

“They’ll ask if I have time to talk to them and listen and they’ll tell their story.”

Reverend David Reiser is the program director. He remembers a time his parking bus driver called upon him for some help.

“The bus driver actually stopped the bus, she got off the bus and handed me a piece of paper and said pray for these people.”

Reiser says their presence in the airport has been a great help to the new flyer, people who haven’t spent much time in the airport. A stark contrast to the frequent fliers of the pre-pandemic days of flying.

“The businessmen used to come in, they know where they’re going and what they’re doing. But the occasional passengers who are lost, who are unfamiliar, who’s maybe never flown before…the anxiety level is there.”

Reverend Banks told Fox 46 his love for helping others and lending a hand is strong and he lives his life with one mission.

“I’m a chaplain for the people… for all people”

If you are interested in volunteering to be an airport chaplain, visit their website.

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