MASSENA — After hearing a passenger’s concerns regarding the sterile area at the Massena International Airport, a local business has stepped forward to help improve the accommodations.

During the Massena Town Council’s July meeting, Councilman Thomas C. Miller said he had talked with a passenger who was flying out of the Massena International Airport, and her plane was delayed. Because the plane was late, and she needed to fly out that day because of a death in the family, she waited 3½ hours in the sterile area.

“The flight was delayed, and the policy from TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is that once they screen the passengers and they get in the sterile area, due to the shortage of their staff, they leave. So passengers cannot leave that area,” Mr. Miller said during the July meeting.

The passenger shared her concerns about the metal seats in the sterile area, and there was also an old television that stayed on one channel because the buttons were missing.

That’s when the Massena Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, formerly St. Regis Nursing Home, stepped forward with a donation to purchase a new flat-screen television for that area after reading about it in the newspaper. Alex Barth, owner of Personal Healthcare, and Ike Bogosian, administrator at the Massena Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, presented the check to council member Melanie Cunningham.

The town of Massena also chipped in to purchase four recliners and two USB plugs so passengers can recharge their cell phones. That funding came out of the airport’s budget, Town Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy said.

The sterile area also has no vending machines, and Mr. Miller told board members that the TSA had indicated they would put a coffee station there, and possibly bring other items like chips and candy bars.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy said they’re also working with Boutique Air, which serves as Massena’s Essential Air Service provider, to ensure passengers concerns such as delayed flights were addressed.

“We’re constantly working with Boutique Air to make sure that doesn’t happen again. One time, a lady was complaining because they kept trying to out-wait the fog in Boston. We were saying it would be much easier just to make a decision in an hour,” he said. “They’re always receptive. They’re more in tune with what needs to be done out there. It’s getting better.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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