Thursday, September 13, 2001

Stranded air travelers found room at inns here

Unexpected layover extended for second night

By John Eckberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Stranded travelers filled rooms at hotels and motels in Greater Cincinnati Tuesday, and many visitors expected another overnight stay Wednesday as airports remained closed nationwide.

        “Book me in for another night,” said Mike Wilson, a 59-year-old soybean farmer from a small town in Arkansas, west of Memphis.

        He was staying at the Cincinnati/Covington Courtyard by Marriott on the Covington riverfront. His flight to New York City was canceled along with all other U.S. air traffic Tuesday.

        “I've had a ball in your town so far,” said Mr. Wilson, who was scheduled to participate in a meeting of the National Council on Economic Education. “I went to the aquarium. I plan on seeing some museums today.”

        Most hotels and motels in the region had rooms available Tuesday night.

        At least two hotels, the Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Airport and the Airport Hilton, were close to sold out on Tuesday afternoon but that changed by Tuesday night.

        “We were not sold out. A large number of people apparently rented cars or were able to move on to their next destination,” said David Diehl, general manager of the Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Airport.

        “A fairly large number of people did not call to cancel. We have no way of knowing if people are flying in or driving in so we ended up with vacancies.”

        Larry Carrico, assistant general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott, said some people took extraordinary steps to get out of town.

        One couple must have been desperate. They hired a driver to take them to Charleston, W.Va., where a rental car waited.

        “I've never heard of that before,” Mr. Carrico said.


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