Sunday, September 16, 2001

Trip home is five-day ordeal

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Jon Longo sleeps in his camping gear Thursday, stranded at Seattle's airport.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
        INDEPENDENCE, Ky. — After spending two restless nights in a sleeping bag at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and 47 hours behind the wheel of a compact rental car, Jon Longo finally made it home to his wife and son Saturday.

        Mr. Longo was one of thousands of stranded air travelers who turned to trains, buses, taxis and even rental trucks to get where they were going after terror attacks grounded the nation's air fleet. The 34-year-old Independence man had been on a rock-climbing expedition with his best friend, Shawn Mahoney, 32, of Bellevue.

        There were times, he said, when the duo wasn't sure when they would make it back to the Tristate.

        “The airport told us that realistically we probably weren't going to be able to catch a flight back before next Tuesday,” Mr. Longo said. “So we really didn't have much of a choice except to get a rental car.”

        Mr. Longo said some rental car outlets were charging $225 a day for the smallest of vehicles. However, Mr. Longo said after a little bargain-hunting and flexing his Gold Club membership privileges, he nabbed his rental for $86 a day.

        “People were going above and beyond the call of duty for us while we were stranded at the airport,” Mr. Longo said. “I can recall at least two occasions where complete strangers offered us room and board for the night.”

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