Fort Wayne International: World’s Sweetest Airport?

Sometime in 1998 Larry Thompson flew into Fort Wayne International Airport, walked out the front doors of the terminal and took a deep breath. “Instead of smelling jet fuel, I smelled the cookies from the bakery across the street. It was like being welcomed home.”

Cookies

Thompson mentioned that “Welcome Home” smell a year later, when the airport marketing team was looking for inexpensive ways to promote the facility. Soon a team of volunteers were drafted to welcome arriving passengers with individually-wrapped, locally-baked cookies.

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The program has been a big success.

The airport has been giving away about 100,000 cookies a year for the past ten years.

And today, TV crews and well-wishers were on hand to help celebrate when it came time to give away the millionth cookie.

cookie 3

To her great surprise, when Lorraine Leach walked off the plane and into the Fort Wayne International terminal, she was greeted not with just a welcome home cookie, but with hearty congratulations and a bunch of prizes.

As the millionth-cookie recipient, Leach was given a box of DeBrand Chocolates and a bag made by Vera Bradley; both companies are based in Fort Wayne.  Leach, who was returning to Fort Wayne from Florida, also received 25,000 airline miles.

“I’m also getting a big box of cookies,” says Leach, “So at least I won’t have to bake this Christmas.”