The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Frequent flyers

Local airport sees share of increased holiday travelers

 

Tom Stankard/Daily Globe

JOSH CONCON, of Chicago, grabs his luggage from the baggage claim Friday at the Gogebic-Iron County Airport in Ironwood Township.

IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP - 'Tis the season for traveling.

Santa Claus wasn't the only one traveling during the Christmas holiday. Whether traveling by air or vehicle, this year AAA said a record 100 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles away from home to see family and friends.

Of the 100 million Americans traveling, the U.S. Department of Transportation said only 5 percent choose to travel via plane.

In Ironwood Township, people at the Gogebic-Iron County Airport flew on Air Choice One, to and from Ironwood and Chicago.

"We have a lot of people that travel back an forth. It's a small aircraft, but it's comfortable," said Marti Armata, station manager.

Armata said she saw more people come in and out of the airport than she normally does.

Even though more people travel this time of year, Armata sad it wasn't necessary to increase the number of flights, like other airlines do. On Monday through Friday, the aircraft flies three times back and forth. On Saturday, Air Choice One makes one trip, and on Sundays there are two trips planned.

On Wednesday, Armata said the bad weather caused headaches for travelers on Air Choice One. Across the country, rain and fog caused thousands of delays and hundreds of cancellations. By 4 p.m., there were 3,600 delays and 300 cancellations, according to the flight tracking site flightaware.com.

"The snow impacted visibility and caused delays," she said.

But the weather cooperated on Christmas Eve.

To prepare for the increased number of travelers, Armata said she called on more staff to de-ice the runway and check in passengers.

As travelers came off the airplane and entered the airport on Thursday, staff members greeted them.

Vicki Krueger traveled all the way from Texas to spend time with her family. She said she looked forward to eating out at local restaurants. "There's a lot of good restaurants here," she said.

While waiting for his flight, Brien Aman, of Ironwood, watched television in the terminal. He said he was traveling to Chicago to see his girlfriend and "spend time with her and her family."

On Christmas Day, Josh Concon was waiting to be picked up by his sister. Concon said he said he has traveled a lot recently and has been to Phoenix this week while working for the U.S. National Soccer Team. The frequent traveler said he is excited to have a white Christmas and spend time with his family, who live in Ashland, Wis.

 
 

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