Introducing Vicki Clarke, self-described day-maker. Unmissable in her pressed uniform of royal blue and sunny yellow, Vicki is one of 170 Airport Ambassadors offering a friendly smile and helping hand to every passenger passing through the terminals of BNE. And she loves her job so much, she does it for free.
From basic directions to check-in and transfer assistance, Vicki helps take the anxiety out of air travel.
Vicki joined the Airport Ambassador Program in 2009 after realising a traditional retirement wasn’t for her. Originally stationed in BNE’s Domestic Terminal, she transitioned to International a year later to share her in-depth local knowledge with travellers from around the world.
She now spends every Tuesday helping international arrivals navigate BNE and beyond.
A proud Chapel Hill local, Vicki often takes on the role of tour guide, sending visitors off with a list of Brisbane’s must-dos. South Bank, the Botanical Gardens and the Gallery of Modern Art are just a few of her top picks.
“If their itineraries are loaded, stomachs are full, and faces are beaming, I know I’ve done my job,” she said.
Language is usually no barrier for Vicki and her fellow Ambassadors, who between them speak twelve languages, including Mandarin, Spanish and Dutch. And should words fail, Vicki knows a smile is worth a thousand words.
“I once had a lady travelling from India to Melbourne approach me for help, holding a note her daughter had written. She needed to make a transfer flight and didn’t speak a lick of English,” Vicki said.
“Even though we couldn’t say a word to each other, I gave her a big smile, and could immediately tell she knew she was in good hands.”
Airport Ambassador roles are so highly sought after there’s currently a waitlist of eager volunteers. Vicki predicts they will be needed come 2020 when Brisbane’s new runway opens, paving the way for more visitors and new questions.
“I think the new runway will make the airport even more fascinating and exciting with more arrivals — and I can’t wait to extend a warm welcome!”
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