Skip to main content

Airport Customer Experience Champion Earns Coveted Director’s Award

July 28, 2023

SJC Media Relations | 408.392.1199 |   

Airport Customer Experience Champion Earns Coveted Director’s Award

Airport Director John Aitken honors Helen Moreno for her selfless service to SJC passengers

John and Helen

San José Mineta International Airport Director John Aitken and Helen Moreno


SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Leadership at San José Mineta International Airport (SJC) reinforced the Airport’s dedication to outstanding customer experience by honoring one of its staff members with an elusive Director’s Award. The award, presented to Customer Experience Specialist, Helen Moreno, had previously been bestowed only one other time by Aitken.  

Helen’s work serving SJC passengers has been a feature in local news coverage after passengers wrote about how she aided the family of a child traveling with a hidden disability. In that instance, Helen went as far as removing her shoes to model the TSA screening process for the child, who had been fearful of the process and equipment.

SJC Airport Director John Aitken, who was, himself, named one of Silicon Valley’s 100 Most Powerful Leaders earlier this year, said, “My staff at SJC go above and beyond to serve our Airport on a daily basis, particularly in Customer Experience, which led to us earning international honors from our industry leaders. We use this Award as a way to recognize staff who have excelled at going that extra mile, which Helen does as a leader on our Customer Experience team. The genuine care that she offers to every person who passes through our doors is something that deserves special recognition.”  

Helen’s work also facilitates travel training for Service Animals to be paired with disabled veterans, SJC’s Sunflower Lanyard Program, which supports individuals traveling with disabilities that may not be obvious, as well as the Airport’s information booths, reception desk and Lost & Found.

SJC has become a beacon in the Aviation industry for providing outstanding Customer Experience to travelers. The Airport won international recognition as the Best Midsized North American Airport for Customer Experience earlier this year from Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) and was recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the nation’s Top 3 midsized airports.

Located in the heart of tech-forward Silicon Valley, SJC is also known for its customer service innovations, frequently providing opportunities for airlines and businesses to pilot new customer-facing technologies and amenities. SJC was the very first airport to introduce therapy animals in its terminals after the 9/11 World Trade Center attack raised fears and tensions throughout the flying community.  

The Airport said that holding staff to a high standard and promoting a “family-like environment” amongst staff is what helps create an atmosphere for outstanding customer experience.  

The Director’s Award had previously only been awarded to then-Senior Engineer/now-Deputy Director of Planning and Development, Fai Ali.  Ali led the team in charge of delivering the Airport’s Interim Facility in less than a year, helping SJC accommodate record-setting passenger volumes at that time.


About San José Mineta International Airport (SJC): Fly Simple 
Fueled by a culture of innovation, San José Mineta International Airport (SJC) is the Bay Area's easiest and most dependable airport due to its medium size, simple layout, temperate climate, and inland location. Just minutes from downtown San José, SJC is a convenient gateway to Northern California and the Silicon Valley region, providing nonstop service across North America and to Europe and Asia. SJC is a self‐supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of San José. For more airport information, visit Connect with SJC on social media at

- SJC -