BOSTON (CBS) – Logan Airport in Boston is using old fashion face-to-face communications to get operations back to normal after Hurricane Sandy this week. The airport never closed, but domestic and international airlines cancelled flights by the thousands over a three-day period.
The airlines moved their planes out of danger, but the Massachusetts Port Authority was getting its information from its local sources. The key to this communication stream was the daily briefing at Logan at 8 a.m. in the airport media room that has taken place every morning since 9/11.
Regional airport managers, security personnel at the state and federal agencies and managers of Logan’s concessions are updated by Massport on the latest developments and information is shared.
“These airline managers had the latest updates and their plans to get aircraft to Boston and resume service,” said Massport Aviation Director Ed Freni.
“Monday we had 115 people at the morning meeting and the next day we had a hundred,” added Freni. The normal count is somewhere around 65 people.
The situation in Boston was complicated by the fact that the three New York and New Jersey airports were shut down for extended periods.
Freni knew that the situation was getting back to normal when local jetBlue managers told Massport that they would fly in over 30 aircraft on Tuesday night to resume its schedule the following morning.
All of the major airlines waived their re-booking fees for several days as passengers returned to Logan Airport.
The disruption of airline service took place at one of the busiest business travel periods of the year. The carriers kept in touch with that important part of their business primarily by smart phone.
Typical of the extra amount of work involved with the storm was undertaken by Durgan Travel Service of Stoneham, Massachusetts which has been operating since 1995. They had one group stranded in Rome on Sunday and another group of 50 people leaving on Alitalia for Rome on Tuesday. The Alitalia web site said the Boston to Rome flight was cancelled, but President Richard Durgan used a contact in New York to find out that the plane was indeed headed for Boston and he notified the Boston departing group by phone with the good news.
Wednesday afternoon, Massport stepped forward with a new program that will help delayed passengers who use their garages. If people provide original tickets and changed flight receipts to Massport by November 30, they will get refunds for the extra time that their cars were at the airport.
The happiest group of travelers using Logan Airport during the storm were the New England Patriots whose Virgin America charter was one of the few flights that got in Monday morning at about 1 p.m. from a victory in London.
“All Things Travel” Reports by Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ News Radio