MASSENA — Better seating and a new television in the sterile area of the Massena International Airport are among the changes the Massena Town Council would like to see if the airport budget allows.

Councilman Thomas C. Miller said he had talked with a passenger who was flying out of the airport on Boutique Air, and her plane was delayed.

“The flight was delayed, and the policy from TSA 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,” he said.

He said, because the plane was late, the passenger waited 3 1/2 hours in the sterile area, “and she could not change her flight because it was due to a death in the family. She needed to get there, so she stayed there,” Mr. Miller said.

He said he has asked about the TSA policy and has been told that as soon as they finish screening passengers, the agents leave. As a result, passengers can’t leave the area and then be re-screened to enter the sterile room again.

There were other areas that needed to be addressed, too, Mr. Miller said.

“She explained that the seats that are in that area are metal seats,” he said. “The TV stays on one channel. I did find out Boutique does bring refreshments to their passengers if it’s delayed. I don’t know what happened there.”

There are also no vending machines in the area, he added.

“TSA said they would improve that and put a coffee station in there,” he said. “They would possibly bring them chips, candy bars or something while they’re waiting.”

Mr. Miller said he talked with Deputy Supervisor Albert Nicola and Airport Manager Frank Diagostino about the situation.

“I would like to see if there’s some money left in the airport (budget) for some better seating in that area... in case the flight is delayed and they have to sit there,” he said. “I’d also like to see if there’s money to purchase a flat-screen TV. The one they have there is probably from the ’80s. The buttons are gone, and they can only watch one channel.”

“Maybe Boutique can pitch in with something like that, too,” Councilman Samuel D. Carbone Jr. said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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