The Albany airport has been a black eye for Albany ever since I moved here 53 years ago. It is without a doubt the most hated and despised institution in Albany by the people who use it. I’m sure if you surveyed the people who use it, Miller, P&G, the Marine Base, or for that matter, anybody else who flies in and out of Albany, they will tell you it is the worst airport they have ever used.
Over the course of my career, I flew all over America with Western Electric (part of AT&T), and for years I have had continuous problems with this airport. I have a son and his family who live in Japan; I also have a son who flies in and out from Minnesota several times a year, mostly using the airport here in Albany. The service is bad, and there is a lack of a professional attitude. I’ve had to drive my family members to Atlanta on numerous occasions to make their connection in Atlanta due to canceled flights without notice. Lost baggage, when found and sent to Albany, had to wait until Monday before being released from the terminal. The airport personnel refuse to answer calls and are incapable of updating their bulletin board. While you are standing there listening to them tell you your flight is canceled, their board still says on time. Due to numerous incidences of this nature over the years, the Albany airport has accumulated a well-deserved bad reputation.
The latest incident is really why I am writing this letter. I currently have a parking ticket for $2 due to use of the parking lot for 32 minutes. This occurred 12/20/12 when I was meeting my family on the 5 p.m. flight from Atlanta. As you can see by the date, this incident was during that terrible rainstorm we had around 5 p.m. The airport had placed no parking cones all across the front of the terminal, and a policeman would not allow any parking. He said it was because of construction going on. At this time, there was no construction work to be seen.
It was the worst rainstorm in years; the parking lot was 3 to 4 inches deep in water in some places. When asked, the parking attendant said no charge for the first 30 minutes. There is no way short of a miracle you can park, walk in the rain, check on your flight, meet your family, wait for the baggage, pick it up, walk back to your car, and get in a line of cars all trying to get out of the parking lot within 30 minutes. My wife and I are in our 80s, and even if we were 60 years younger, it would still take a miracle.
I have but three questions for the Airport and those who run it.
My first question is why are there no parking cones in place if there is no construction going on, and even if there were construction going on, why not temporarily remove them when a flight is arriving or leaving?
My second question is who came up with the 30-minute free parking limit, knowing that most people could not meet that time limit? It’s my opinion they deliberately set the time limit at 30 minutes so to generate parking ticket revenues.
My last question is why someone is allowed to make these decisions, when it is obvious they did it with total disregard for the people using the airport? It is so simple to put the public first; after all, that’s who the airport is there for.
John H. O’Brien is a resident of Putney.