Travelers have spoken, and for the tenth year in a row, the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) has been awarded the Airports Council International’s Airport Service Quality Award for Best Airport in North America – making it the only airport in the United States to win the honor for a straight decade.
“It’s the love and relentless dedication that our staff has put into this place that has made us the top airport in North America again and again – more times than any other airport in the country,” said Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “This is a tremendous honor, and we are incredibly proud of all the people who make this airport an example that all others can aspire to.”
As we approach National Aviation Day on August 19th, we wanted to highlight a few of the women whose hospitality and dedication make the airport so outstanding. These women exude Hoosier hospitality, serving on the airport’s Guest Services team and playing a critical role in the IAA’s commitment to providing world-class customer service.
You’ll find them stationed at the Guest Services Desk just past the airline ticketing hall, before Civic Plaza and TSA security screening. You may have seen them virtually providing assistance through Zoom video screens during the height of the pandemic, but they’re back in person now and available nearly 24/7 including weekends and holidays.
Guest Services team members are ready to assist with flight and airport information, hotel accommodations, ground transportation, convention activity, and retail information. They’re also the women who operate the public address paging system, assist people who have deafness and speak languages other than English, pack and ship lost and found items back to owners, and welcome the public for various programs, among other services.
Meet The Women of the Guest Services Desk
Sonia Espinoza, Guest Services Assistant
“It’s rewarding that a simple gesture can change a passenger’s day! And I love to help solve problems the best way I can. At the guest services desk, you interact with passengers who need directional assistance and some who want to be heard, and I enjoy being that listening ear for them.”
● Sonia has been a dedicated IAA employee for 13 years, including eight with the airport’s Terminal Services custodial team and five offering customer service with Guest Services
● She is from Peru, bilingual in Spanish and English, and is a former teacher
● Certifications: Customer Service Training from Applied Magic: Disney Practices
● Personal: Sonia loves gardening and enjoys spending time with her husband and two beautiful children
Daja Aviah, Guest Services Assistant and Public Affairs Generalist
“In my role, I experience the best of both worlds! I enjoy helping passengers in person by actively listening to their needs to solve problems as much as possible. And on the Public Affairs side, I help manage the IND digital customer service experience through social media monitoring and customer service response. It’s rewarding to work for the BEST Airport in North America!”
● Daja has seven years of experience in the hospitality industry, including two years with the IAA
● She joined the airport’s Human Resources team in the start of 2020 just before the pandemic and has since transitioned to the Public Affairs team, which includes Guest Services and social media management
● She serves passengers in a hybrid role with Guest Services and Marketing, providing world-class customer service to the traveling public at the Guest Services Desk and through social media interaction
● Daja is a Ball State University graduate with a B.A. in Public Communications
● She is a member of the IAA Diversity & Inclusion Council
● Personal: Family is a huge part of Daja’s life. She has five siblings, including a twin brother, and she enjoys traveling with her husband as well as planning and hosting events for friends and family in her free time
Donna Trakimas, Guest Services Assistant
“As a Guest Service Assistant, I thoroughly enjoy providing excellent customer service to passengers to ensure they have a stress-free travel experience. Most of my colleagues describe me as the ‘Nancy Drew’ of the airport. As soon as I receive a lost and found item, I’m on the case.”
● Donna brings a total of 22+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to her role with the IAA
● She has offered elevated customer service to Indy travelers for almost four years
● Accolades: 2020 Visit Indy ROSE Award winner
● Personal: Donna enjoys motorcycle rides down to Brown County and trying out new restaurants
All photos courtesy of the Indianapolis International Airport; photography by Kelly Lynn Photography.
All of our content—including this article—is completely free. However, we’d love it if you would please consider supporting our journalism with an Indy Maven membership.