Rochester airport says passengers could have come into terminal, blames Continental


After 47 Continental passengers were stranded for nine hours on a grounded plane in Rochester en route to Minneapolis-St. Paul International, airline officials immediately cast blame on airport regulations and the airport itself for the nightmarish incident that left passengers with no food and overflowing toilets.

The Rochester airport manager came out in defense of the airport today in the Pioneer Press, saying this "wasn't an airport issue; It was strictly Continental's."

Yikes. Who is finally going to take the fall for this horrible experience? More from the PiPress:

"For the life of me I don't understand why they didn't come to the terminal," Steven Leqve, manager of the Rochester Airport, said today. Even in the overnight hours on Friday and into Saturday, Delta Air Lines had three people onsite, and the airport had one employee there as well.

"It doesn't take much to bring an airplane up to the gate," Leqve said.

More information on the flight in our previous report. Continental also apologized for the incident and offered passengers a refund and voucher for later travel.

According to a Rochester airport release today, the Delta Air Lines manager in Rochester asked the Continental dispatcher at MSP if the passengers should come to the terminal. The Continental dispatcher allegedly said to keep the passengers on the plane while they waited for word on weather.

The plane was going to take off again at 2 a.m., but that was also canceled due to new weather conditions.

An ExpressJet spokesperson also claimed they couldn't bring the passengers to the terminal because there were no TSA screeners. That just don't even make sense to anyone that has had a connecting flight and doesn't go through security again.

More from the Pioneer Press:

The passengers would have arrived in a secure part of the airport, with access to restrooms and vending machines, Leqvue said. They wouldn't have been able to leave that area unless an airport employee opened locked doors, he said.