United Service Organization airport lounges are a key benefit to military personnel. They are completely free for to use and offer a chance to relax or get some work done as well. A USO lounge may come in all shapes and sizes, but they all share the same common goal: “The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.” (USO.org)
PHF USO Lounge
The Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport is a fairly small airport in the Hampton Roads, VA (Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk) area. It currently serves only 2 airlines, Delta and American Airlines, but will add a third airline, Elite Airlines, this spring. The airport may be small, but still features a USO Center. The lounge is located landside, immediately next to the TSA Checkpoint, which is currently being expanded. Inside, you’ll find a cozy area to rest and relax, free snacks and coffee, dedicated Wifi and a computer area. You can also help yourself to some complimentary personal hygiene items, such as shampoo and body wash, which are located directly adjacent to the computer sign in desk.
USO Services Overseas
Some of you may have already utilized certain benefits offered by the USO while serving overseas. They have centers all over the world and have much more to offer than just free coffee and a place to sit. USO regularly host live shows and other forms of entertainment and play a vital role in overall troop morale. Airport Lounges are just another aspect of this service. They also offer volunteer opportunities and even rely on volunteers to make the mission happen. Think of it as a “For us, By us” organization.
Another caveat is that, just like with any other service, if it’s not being used, it’ll go away. I personally do not think that the USO lounge at PHF is ideally situated, as it’s easily overlooked and would be much more useful airside, but it’s still nice to have a lounge at a smaller airport. I encourage everyone traveling through an airport that has a USO Center to, at least, sign in and say hello to the staff. This helps to keep the center in business, especially smaller ones, such as this one at PHF.
It’s nice to have access to an airport lounge at an airport that, otherwise, does not have much to offer at all. The USO goes above and beyond to provide us the opportunity to travel comfortably, and all that completely free. Family members can also enjoy these services.
Have you visited a USO lounge before? Please share your experience and recommendations in the comment section below.