When passengers and community members alike think of Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA), one of the first things that may come to mind is the fresh, locally baked cookies that are handed out to every arriving passenger that comes to our city. Known affectionately by many as “the cookie airport,” FWA is living up to its name by celebrating 3 million cookies given out to passengers, and the debut of a new cookie style for all to enjoy.
FWA’s cookie program has a delicious history dating back over twenty years, when the volunteer Hospitality Host program began in 1999 at the airport. As the Host program began to take shape, one of the various duties that hosts were assigned was handing each arriving passenger an individually wrapped, locally made cookie from Ellison Bakery as a welcome to Fort Wayne. With an emphasis on delivering excellent customer service and “Hoosier Hospitality” to all passengers, the FWA cookie has become one of the most notable and recognizable customer service efforts by the airport. FWA handed out the 1 millionth cookie in 2013, with the 2 millionth cookie given to a passenger in 2016. In 2019, FWA staff recognized that the distribution of the 3 millionth cookie was getting close and began to plan a celebration around the milestone.
The 3 millionth cookie was awarded to a passenger randomly selected by FWA staff on June 26, 2020 on a flight arriving from St. Petersburg. A celebration was held to commemorate the occasion, complete with an honorary Hospitality Host handing out the special 3 millionth cookie. The lucky winner received a FWA gift basket with gifts and goods from the airport, a supply of cookies from Ellison Bakery, as well as vouchers for two roundtrip tickets good for travel on Allegiant Air. Other passengers on the flight also received a special gift from the airport as a part of the celebration.
The awarding of the 3 millionth cookie also coincided with the debut of brand new FWA cookies. Now every arriving passenger will be welcomed to Fort Wayne with a package featuring a number of miniature cookies, rather than one small cookie. These packages feature flavors like birthday cake and chocolate chip, with varieties rotating frequently.
While the FWA Hospitality Host program has been put on pause indefinitely because of COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution for our dedicated Hosts, passengers can still expect to receive the cookies they know and love when they arrive at the airport. A cookie kiosk is located right at the security exit and passengers may help themselves to a special “welcome to Fort Wayne” treat.
The next time you fly into FWA don’t forget your sweet welcome to our city – whether you are coming home from a long business trip or visiting Fort Wayne for fun. Thank you for flying FWA!