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FlyORH: Troubleshooting at Worcester Airport

Thursday, December 12, 2013

 

There are bound to be complications for any airport. The question is, how will we deal with them?

According to several media outlets, Worcester Airport is the only airport that had to cancel flights due to fog last Thursday. In actuality, there were many airports on the East Coast that had similar problems. LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark had over 200 cancellations due to fog.

Many years ago, I had a flight out of Providence to Florida in the morning. It was a beautiful day until I got close to the airport, where the fog had settled. I sat all day in the airport until the fog finally broke and I was able to get a flight to Florida. 

The truth is that when you travel, weather problems will happen whatever airport you utilize, not just in Worcester. From the flight on November 7th through the first fight on December 7th, we have had 112 flights with 8 cancellations due to fog and 2 cancellations due to mechanical problems.

There is pretty much nothing we can do about the mechanical problems, and we will be better to handle fog when the CAT III landing equipment is installed. The bottom line is that we will have cancellations just like any other airport, although a few more without the CAT III.

What should we do?

As a airport trying to establish ourselves, we need to make the experience as positive as possible. JetBlue has done a great job when flights are diverted the same day and will provide transportation back or from Worcester for free.

The problem is when flights are cancelled the day before your flight. The procedure is to tell people they need to get to Boston for their flight without any ground transportation. Let’s provide an option for ground transportation, even for a fee, from the airport to Boston. 

I was able to call Silver Fox Bus Lines and for a cost of $1,200 they can provide two buses. Here is how I see it:

·      Drive to ORH for your flight even though you know it will be departing from Boston

·      Pay $7 per day or $42 per week to park in Worcester

·      A bus is waiting to take you to Boston and will cost $10 per passenger

You will end up getting to your location an one to two hours later then you planned. The thing is your would have paid a lot more $10 dollars to get to Boston and alot more then $7 per day for parking in Boston.

Now the $10 per passenger will not cover the entire cost of the bus services, but this is expense that Massport needs to absorb to provide an overall positive experience to fly out of Worcester. I would also think this expense could be absorbed through the FAA grant?

In the long term, Massport should consider adding Worcester to their Logan Express route map.   

 

Bill Randell is the President of Advantage Benefits, an insurance brokerage house specializing in employee benefits with an emphasis on health insurance, based in Worcester since 1992. He can be contacted at Bill@AdvantageBenefits.com or follow him on Twitter (@FlyORH).

 

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